T&T will have its mind set on ending a four-match losing slide when it faces Puerto Rico from 8 pm tonight in the second of two seventh to tenth place semifinal playoffs as action in the 11th Women’s Pan American Cup resumes today after yesterday’s rest day in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. This after the “Calypso Spikers” suffered a straight sets loss to Peru in their final round-robin Pool B match at the University of Ciudad Gymnasium on Monday night to end with a 1-4 record and fifth spot in the pool. Carla Rueda scored 13 points and Clarivett Yllescas registered ten in the 25-15, 25-20, 25-12 victory for Peru over T&T. After its five sets loss to Costa Rica the night before, Kelly-Anne Billingy and Rheeza Grant finished with eight points for T&T while Sinead Jack added six. Despite the win, Peru’s captain Elena Keldibekova acknowledged her team played against a good T&T team. “We played against a very tall and strong team with a good physical talent. We had to adjust and work with our block and serve,” said Keldibekova. T&T captain Krystle Esdelle explained it was difficult for her team to recover from the night before but also credited Peru for its play.
However, T&T coach Francisco Cruz remarked that the Peruvian serve deserved the credit. “I cannot say that the players were tired (after the match against Costa Rica). The credit is for the serve strategy by Peru. They also controlled the pass and that really affected our attack,” he concluded. This year will mark the sixth straight appearance at the tournament for the local women’s team which has finished tenth, three times (2009-2011) and 12th, both in 2007 and 2008, but this time around a win will see T&T finishing higher than it previously did. In the other seventh to tenth place semifinal, Canada meets Costa Rica from 6 pm with the two winners advancing to the fifth eight semifinals against the quarterfinal losers tomorrow.
The two main draw quarterfinals which also takes place today at the Colegio de Bachilleres Gymnasium, Ciudad, Juarez, feature Cuba against Argentina from 8 pm followed by Peru versus Dominican Republic with the winners qualifying to meet pool winners’, Brazil, the defending champion and USA, four-time winners, also on Friday. Brazil finished with a perfect 5-0 record in Pool B following a 25-14, 25-9, 25-21 victory over Mexico which concluded with 0-5 mark and Argentina was third with a 3-2 record after beating Costa Rica 25-14, 25-22, 25-8. In Pool A, USA came back from two sets down to defeat Dominican Republic 24-26, 24-26, 25-15, 25-22, 15-12 and clinch a berth in the semifinals as group winners with a 4-1 record and 18 points, the same as Cuba and Dominican Republic (3-2). However, USA had a better points-ratio (1.227 to 1.119) while Dominican Republic took third. This after Canada snapped the four-game winning streak of Cuba by scoring a surprising 25-23, 25-23, 17-25, 22-25, 15-7 win while Puerto Rico got their second victory, 25-22, 22-15, 22-20 over Colombia.