Puerto Rico defeats Costa Rica 3-2 in NORCECA U19

PONCE, Puerto Rico, May 14, 2024 - Puerto Rico defeated Costa Rica 3-2 (25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 18-25, 15-7) in the Boys U19 NORCECA Continental Championship that began at the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The hosts were surprised by the tenacity and defense of the Central American team, whose powerful attack forced an exciting tie-break. In the fourth set, Costa Rica gained a wide eight-point lead (13-5), which later extended to twelve points (19-7), leaving Puerto Rico with no options.

The home team came out determined in the fifth set, quickly advancing to a six-point lead (10-4) to secure the victory.

Puerto Rico outperformed Costa Rica 65 to 61 in attacks, in addition to a slim difference in blocks (13-12) and a 7 to 2 in service points. Costa Rica committed fewer errors than Puerto Rico (18-21).

Puerto Rico was led by outside hitter Gustavo Álvarez with 26 points, 22 from attacks, 3 blocks, and one ace. Team captain Jean Paul González added 15 points, middle blocker Jorge Suarez scored 14 points, and outside hitter Adrián Carrillo contributed 13 points.

Outside hitter Stanley Grant finished with a match-high of 32 points, on 31 attacks and one ace. Opposite Ignacio Sánchez recorded 15 points from 12 attacks and three blocks. Middle blocker Josué Bolaños contributed 10 points, 6 on attacks, and a maximum of 4 blocks.

Jean Paul González, captain of Puerto Rico: “We fought hard throughout the match. I think we got a bit overconfident, and Costa Rica played very well, reading our plays. We put all our energy into closing out the fifth set decisively”.

Eytan Vargas, captain of Costa Rica: “I feel like we did things right; however, we let the match slip away by making more mistakes than they did (Puerto Rico). Ultimately, the one who makes fewer mistakes is the one who wins. The best part of the match was the motivation; we enjoyed the game the whole time and disrupted them. The tournament is just beginning; we'll do better”.