Panama keeps hope of a medal winning to Nicaragua

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, September 21, 2018. - Panama defeated Nicaragua 3-1 (25-18, 13-25, 25-22, 25-18) to keep hope of winning a medal of the fourth Men’s U23 AFECAVOL Central American Championship at Teodoro Palacios Flores Gymnasium in Guatemala City.

With the victory, Panama finishes the event with 4-2 record and 17 points, waiting for the results of the matches left in the tournament as a series of combinations may grant them at most the silver medal. Nicaragua stays in medal contest with 3-2 record and 14 points.

Panama was able to hold off Nicaragua with continuous blocking offense, finishing with a huge 14-5 blocking margin. Still Nicaragua managed a sizeable set two victory, with their strong attackers pounding against Panama’s blockers effectively.

Both teams scored on 51 attacks and Nicaragua led 3-0 in aces. They were similar in errors, Panama with 24 and Nicaragua with 23.

Once again outside hitter Felix Williams led Panama with his strength and scoring a match-high of 24 points on 21 kills and 3 blocks. Middle blocker Ludrik West and outside hitter Jose Soto also contributed with the win scoring 15 and 13 points accordingly. Nicaragua’s figures were outside hitter Jonny Zeledon with 21 points including 18 kills and 2 aces; and opposite Denis Garcia tallied 19 points on 18 kills and one ace.

Nicaragua’s (3-2) last match is against Honduras (2-2).

Top scorer Félix Williams said “we were committed to win today because the result was crucial; we hope it’s enough to finish with the silver medal. Today we defended very well”.

Horacio Angulo, head coach of Panama described the match “courage, desire, faith in God, harmony. With this victory, it’s possible to keep the silver medal of the past edition, we have to wait. I congratulate my team, they came to fight and execute their job, and today we earned an important victory”.

Nicaragua´s captain Denis García said “our bad attitude is killing us; it’s very low because of yesterday’s loss to Guatemala. The pressure to win today and secure the silver medal was too much. We couldn’t control Panama’s blocks and our minds were blocked as well”.

“We will suffer tomorrow” said Nicaraguan coach Osman Hernandez; “we hope to win tomorrow. The thing is that my team’s energy is low; they didn’t perform as they should have, to many ups and downs, in some moments they were relaxed. Our second set was excellent, with a huge advantage; our problem is psychological”.