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Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 9, 2014 – Argentina celebrated a home win for the first time ever in the FIVB World Grand Prix by outclassing Peru in three sets (25-13, 25-22, 25-15) at Lomas de Zamora on Friday leaving the Peruvian team out of any chances of qualifying for the Final Four.

Key points:

• Emilce Sosa topped the Argentine scorers with 12 points; Yamila Nizetich, Florencia Busquets and Lucía Fresco had 10 each.

• It was Argentina’s second win in the tournament.

• Peru’s Ángela Leyva was the top scorer in the match with 14 points.

• Peru could only manage one blocking point and no service points; Argentina had 10 and three, respectively. Both teams had 22 errors.

• Peru and Argentina have similar 2-5 records in Group 2 and both have seven points with two matches remaining. Neither can make the Final Four.

The match began like a battle, not only on court but also between two amazingly loud crowds. Argentina, with two consecutive spikes from Busquets, took the lead at 6-4, and a wide ball by Peru widened the gap to 10-6. Fresco spurred the local team on, smartly dodging the block to put Argentina 12-7 up. Argentina proved to be in outstanding form, with Fresco and Nizetich breaking the Peruvian block again and again as they surged to a 23-11 lead. Fresco and Busquets completed a superb set by “Las Panteras” with a 25-13 score.

In the second set, Busquets again set the pace for Argentina, with a block and a counterattack as they went 6-2 up. After an 8-3 lead at the first TTO, Sosa nailed two more blocks and a great dig by libero Tatiana Rizzo finished with an Argentina point for 14-8. As in the previous set, Argentina grew stronger as the play went on, with setter Yael Castiglione and Busquets providing more stuff blocks (17-10). Sosa hammered a loose ball and her side improved to 20-13, but in the final track the home team lost a bit of their focus and Peru closed to 21-19. Josefina Fernandez entered the court to earn two vital points and reach set point (24-21). A net fault by Peru sealed the set at 25-22.

For the first time in the game, Peru grabbed an opening lead, jumping to a 9-7 lead in the third chapter. However, Elina Rodriguez achieved the side-out and Argentina worked their way to eight points in a row, with Fresco powering through in the front positions. The “Panteras” seized a 16-11 lead and easily kept it to 20-14, while Natalia Malaga tried several substitutions to the Peruvian side. Sosa pulled out two more blocks, Fresco added a spike and the crowd exploded when a Sosa spike ended the set at 25-15.

On Saturday, Peru will be in the first game against Cuba, which will be followed by Argentina-Canada.

Press Conference:

Natalia Malaga, Peru coach: “Argentina knew how to block our intentions, with a very strong pace from the beginning. We have a lot of work ahead of us, while Argentina already has some experience. We are working to get where they are. We have two matches ahead and we want to keep growing and achieve our maturity.”

Guillermo Orduna, Argentina coach: “I’m very satisfied with our output, especially with our discipline all through the game. For Argentina, it’s not so easy to play with a packed stadium at home; it’s the first time for us in many years, so this was a real test for us and the girls were able to pass it. I think Peru has evolved a lot and they have a history behind these young girls. I have no doubt we will face them again and it’s very good for South American volleyball to have many strong teams.”

But before in the first ever FIVB World Grand Prix match on Argentinean soil, Cuba secured their first win in this year’s tournament by defeating Canada in straight sets (27-25, 25-18, 25-22) in Lomas de Zamora’s Microestadio.

Key points:

• Cuba’s 14-year-old Melissa Vargas led the scorers with 14 points; teammates Alena Orta and Regla Gracia added 11 points each.

• For Canada, Kyla Richey and Lucille Charuk scored 10 points each.

• Cuba dominated in blocking (9-3) and serving (8-2).

• Cuba’s record losing streak in the World Grand Prix ended at 20 matches.

• Cuba is the most experienced World Grand Prix team in Pool N with 223 matches and 138 wins. The other three nations have a combined number of 68 matches (Argentina 33, Peru 24, Canada 11) and nine total wins (Argentina 5, Peru 3, Canada 1).

• It was the first ever meeting of the two sides in the World Grand Prix.

After a sloppy start, Canada regrouped defensively and Richey led the way to an 8-6 score. However, right after the break, Cuba combined their middle-blockers Daymara Lescay and Orta to bounce back at 10-8. The match remained close as Richey kept rolling for Canada, but Cuba secured the second TTO by 16-15 with a strong spike by Orta. Richey’s eighth point gave Canada a slim lead at the very end (20-19), but the Caribbean side answered once more. Vargas defended successfully and, on the next ball, Sulian Matienzo sealed the set at 27-25.

Vargas improved her numbers in the second set, carrying the flag for Cuba towards an 8-4 opener. She also added an ace at 10-4, as Canada suffered in reception. That six-point gap remained untouchable en route to a 16-10 margin at the second TTO, with Cuba looking stronger in every department of the game. Orta smashed for 18-12 and Gracia joined the show with a nice sharp spike down the line at 22-14, allowing Cuba to cruise until the final point. Once again, it was Matienzo who finished the set, this time by a margin of 25-18.

Aiming to wrap up their first win, the Cubans also seized control of the third set, going 9-5 up with Orta well supported by setter Hernández Santas. Even though Canada tried to climb back with Dana Cranston in good shape, Cuba had a two-point lead at the next TTO. Gracia served a strong ace at 20-17 and Lescay, a while later, sent out a good floated serve to raise the margine to 22-18. After a final effort by Canada, headed by Shanice Marcelle, Vargas gave Cuba a handful of match points and they nailed the match at 25-22 with Matienzo again rounding things off.

Press conference:

Brittany Page, Canada captain: “Cuba made a good game today. They served very well and it made things very hard for us. We couldn’t play our game. For tomorrow’s game against Argentina I expect a full house and I hope we can play better than today.”

Sulian Matienzo, Cuba captain: “We were very determined today to get this first win. I’m very happy not only for this result but also for having the support of the Argentine crowd.”

Arnd Ludwig, Canada coach: “When you pass like we did today, and you served like we did today, it’s very hard to get a win. On the other hand, Cuba served and passed well, they were very strong in the first ball and also their blocks were strong.”

Juan Carlos Gala Rodriguez, Cuba coach: “We worked and trained very hard for this win. I think the team showed not only good outputs but also discipline on court, and we prevented Canada from doing their game. However, this is a very close pool and we need to stay focused.”

Saturday matches:

17.30 Cuba v Peru

20.30 Argentina v Canada (TyC Sports live broadcast)

Statistics: ARG-PER + CUB-CAN

(Photos - 3rd Weekend Grand Prix in Lomas de Zamora)