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Puerto Rico claims victory over Nicaragua at NORCECA U19

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, June 6, 2018.- Puerto Rico claimed victory over Nicaragua 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-20) in opening day of the NORCECA U19 Boys’ Continental Championship qualifier to the FIVB age-group World Championship.

Puerto Rico subdued Nicaragua in sets one and two with effective blocking; in set three they stumbled with overconfidence as the Central American team gained territory.

Puerto Ricans held advantage 32-20 in kills, 8-0 in blocks and 6-2 in services points. Puerto Rico committed 21 errors and Nicaragua 29.

Opposite Sebastián Negron and wing spiker Wilmer Hernández led Puerto Rico with 9 points, joined by 6 points from middle blocker Emanuel Adames and wing spiker Omar Hoyos. Josué Cano of Nicaragua led all scorers with 12 points.

On Thursday, Puerto Rico (1-0) has a rest day and Nicaragua (0-1) faces Costa Rica.

Puerto Rico coach Juan Albarran “part of today’s plan was that everyone had a chance to play, this allows us to see what to continue on working during the tournament; it all went well. I think the starting players in the last set were nervous but we moved forward. Today our middle blockers made the difference and gave us the advantage”.

Puerto Rico captain Wilmer Hernández “we were too relaxed in our closing y we learned the hard way that there is no small opponent, so we must be more consistent the entire game. Our serves were offensive, harming Nicaragua’s reception; we worked our blocking pretty good for a better rhythm”.

Nicaragua captain Ronny Cerda “sadly working against their blocking turned out well up to the third set and we improved in serving. Nicaragua has to practice with more intensity to face opponents of this superiority; they were more effective and that motivates us to do better”.

Nicaragua coach Jorge Mena “we were hoping for a tighter match like the third set, but my boys were too nervous facing Puerto Rico. My instructions have been to play with more confidence because we have nothing to lose. I believe the players weren’t scared anymore in the end”.