Puerto Rico in semis and to NORCECA Olympic Qualifier


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, October 10, 2019.-Host Puerto Rico advanced to the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship semifinals sweeping Canada 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-18) and sealed their ticket to the NORCECA Olympic Qualfier.


After finishing first in pool A, Puerto Rico (3-0) advanced directly into Saturday’s semifinals and also booked their spot for January to battle for the Olympic qualification at the NORCECA final four. Canada will play Mexico in the Friday’s quarterfinals.


The host came from behind 7-11 in the first set, taking control on their powerful serves. In set two the crowd enjoyed longer rallies while Puerto Rico kept on leading by comfortable four points; having no difficulties to end with a straight set win.


Puerto Rico dominated Canada on 10-2 margin in service points and Canada led 9-6 in blocks; both teams scored 34 points on attacks. Puerto Rico benefited on 25 Canadian errors, allowing 18 points.


Three players scored double-figures for Puerto Rico, Stephanie Enright (13pts), Karina Ocasio (10pts) and Paulina Prieto (10pts); Diana Reyes scored 4 aces. Kiera Van Ryk topped Canada’s hitters with 11 points, and Alexa Gray along with Emily Maglio added 9 points apiece.


Natalia Valentín, captain of Puerto Rico: “We feel great, we reached the first goal of being in the semifinals and the second goal of winning a spot to the Olympic qualifier; we only need to reach the third goal of winning a medal. In the beginning Canada’s receiving was steady, they served strategically and they moved their blocking well, they kept in the game. In the end we executed using one of our weapons, attacking”.


José Mieles, Head Coach of Puerto Rico: “We started slow, a lot of spectators and Canada came out strong dominating serves and passing. We found the rhythm and we were the ones to dominate those aspects; adding the technical-tactical work during practice, we worked well on the ends and we served very well breaking their offense”.


Benjamin Josephson, Head Coach of Canada: “At the beginning we were two teams banging away, there were a lot of big kills and rallies, it was a really exciting first set and the early second set. The middle section got away from us, we didn’t serve our best and Puerto Rico was in control in the third set. We weren’t disciplined enough facing a strong opponent, we made to many errors and that gave them too many free ones, especially from the service line. This hasn’t finished yet”.