Nicaragua claims dramatic five-set win over Costa Rica

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, September 18, 2018. - Nicaragua claimed a dramatic five-set win 3-2 (25-15, 21-25, 24-26, 26-24, 15-12) over Costa Rica at the Men’s U23 AFECAVOL Central American Championship at Teodoro Palacios Flores in Guatemala City.

After three days of competition, Nicaragua stands with unbeaten 2-0 record and eight points, and Costa Rica drops to 1-2 with a total of seven points.

The winners began strong and with a solid performance to prevail over Costa Rica with a sizeable ten point margin. Costa Rica recovered well and quickly in sets two and three with fast moves, added to their triple blocks over the net. Both teams fought strong in nail biting finish, but Nicaragua celebrated the win taking advantage of Costa Rica’s numerous errors.

Costa Rica led in all categories, 61-55 in kills, 9-6 in blocks and 4-3 in aces, but allowed 47 points on unforced errors while Nicaragua committed only 28.

Nicaragua claimed a dramatic victory carried by outside hitter Jonny Zeledon with a tournament-high so far of 28 points managing to counterattack the next top scorer Elder Quiros of Costa Rica with 24 points.

Also contributing to Nicaragua’s victory was opposite player Denis Garcia with 12 points. On Costa Rica’s side, outside hitter Oscar Ramirez and opposite Gilberth Solano added 15 points apiece, while Mariano Salas finished with 13 points.

On day four, Costa Rica (1-2) will face Panama (1-1); Nicaragua (2-0) meets El Salvador (0-2).

Leading attacker, Jonny Zeledon said “our energy was really high in the first set. Costa Rica played fast and they are very good blockers, I believe our attitude wasn’t enough. We will fight stronger to finish among the medalists”.

Osman Hernández head coach of Nicaragua said “my team puts too much pressure on themselves, still we were always close and finally we were able to catch up. It was a very difficult game; the bench players did a good job. Our moves weren’t as effective because we knew Costa Rica was fast on the outsides; nevertheless we didn’t move around as quick, it’s our inexperience”.

“Today we showed how well prepared the team is” said coach Juan Acuña of Costa Rica. “We put up a good fight to Nicaragua, unfortunately we couldn’t finish in four because of small details; the same thing happened in the fifth. I think we are on the right path, tactically we performed well after losing the first set by a sizeable margin” he added.

Oscar Ramirez of Costa Rica said it was an even performance “we fought from start to finish, we weren’t as tough as we needed to be in critical moments and Nicaragua their outside hitter took advantage, he has a lot of strength and we weren’t able to stop him”.