PRESS RELEASE 17/10/2009

Puerto Rico wins the bronze medal in five sets

BAYAMON, Puerto Rico, October 17, 2009 – Enrique Escalante led hosts Puerto Rico to a thrilling five-set victory (25-16, 24-26, 25-20, 22-25, 15-9) against Canada in the bronze medal match of the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship on Saturday.


Escalante topped five Puerto Ricans scoring in double figures with a match-high 21 points including four aces and two blocks. Luis Rodriguez and Victor Rivera each contributed 19 points while Hector Soto and Jose Rivera charted 18 and 11 points respectively.


Stephen Gotch and Louis-Pierre Mainville led Canada with 18 points apiece and Joel Schmuland tallied 17.


“Enrique (Escalante) was colossal in the fifth set with his strong serves and he led us to the victory,” said Rodriguez, the captain of Puerto Rico. “Our expectations were higher coming into the tournament but we are happy with the bronze medal.”


“This is our second consecutive medal in the NORCECA Continental but we are one step behind USA and Cuba,” said Carlos Cardona, the coach of Puerto Rico. “We need to have more international competitions in order to over come the anxiety we show in the big matches.”


“It took a while before we got our rhythm,” said Gotch, the captain of Canada. “In the fifth set Escalante was very difficult to control the way he was serving. The atmosphere was excellent and the Puerto Ricans are awesome fans.”


Canadian coach Vincent Pichette added: “The difference was the experience. They controlled their emotions in the crucial moments while we were a little anxious every time we gave a point in the key situations.”


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