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Belize win silver in C.A. U-19 Female Volleyball Championship

BELIZE CITY, Sat. July 24, 2023

When the Belize National U-19 female team scored the final point of the final set in the final match of the 2023 U-19 Female Central American Volleyball Championship at the Belize City Civic Centre tonight, the Belizean nation erupted in celebration.

The team won the silver medal for its second-place finish in a tournament in which they won 5 matches and only lost one to the gold medalists, Costa Rica, who did not lose any matches and only dropped one set, to Belize, in the entire tournament.

Unsurprisingly, Costa Rica’s Ticas received four awards, including the MVP, while Belize’s Lady Jaguars’ Khaya Gordon won the Best Scorer and Best Attacker awards, and teammate Blessed Omamurhe, the Best Blocker award.

Belize had dominated El Salvador in its final match, sweeping 3 sets, 25-13, 25-13, 25-20, behind 14 successful attacks and 15 points scored by Gordon, the superb all-around play of standout Nissan Martinez (7 attacks, 2 blocks, 4 serves, 13 points scored), and 6 attacks and 4 blocks by Blessed Omamurhe.

It was the match the night before however, which had captured the popular imagination and hearts of the Belizean nation, a sensational five sets defeat of arch-nemesis Guatemala, 16-25, 25-18, 21-25, 25-12, 15-13.

There was overwhelming relief, an outpouring of gratitude and nationwide celebrations when the Belize team came back from a 2-point deficit (11-13) in the decisive final set and scored 4 straight points to turn the table and secure the 15-13 victory, the silver medal and the nation’s pride.

According to the Belize Volleyball Association, “With an impressive 31 points, 26 spikes, 2 blocks and three service points, Nissan Martinez from Belize was the top scorer of the match; her teammate Khaya Gordon scored 26 points, 23 spikes, two blocks and one on service.

“Guatemala, with Naomi Money as top scorer, registered 23 points, 21 attacks, one block and one on service. Dulce Trigueño contributed 15 points, 13 of them on attack and two on service.

“Belize dominated the hits 62-46 and the serves 8-5. In blocks, both teams scored 7 points. Guatemala scored 35 points thanks to their opponent’s mistakes, and Belize scored 25 points.”

Costa Rica (6-0, 29 points), won the gold medal by winning all 6 of its matches winning 5 of them in straight sets 3-0, while losing only a single set to Belize (5-1, 24 points)

Unsurprisingly, its players won nearly all the individual awards, with Rashany Solano being named MVP, Best Free, Best Receiver and Best Defense; Angelica Rodriguez, Best Opposite; Sheyla Alvarez, Best Server; Joselyn Moraga, 2nd Best Striker; and Nhya Barley, 2nd Best Blocker.

Maria Daniela Juarez of Guatemala (3-3, 16 points) was the best setter. Her team finished fourth on the final table while Nicaragua (4-2, 18 points) took the bronze medal on finishing in third place.

El Salvador (2-4, 11 points), Panama (1-5, 5 points) and winless Honduras (0-6, 2 points) rounded out the standings.
2023 Men’s C.A. Volleyball Championship next

The Belize Volleyball Association will host the 2023 Men’s Central American Volleyball Championship, August 6-12 at the Belize City Civic Centre. Belize will face the national teams of: El Salvador (Sun, Aug 6); Panama (Mon, Aug 7); Honduras (Tue, Aug 8); Guatemala (Thur, Aug 10); Costa Rica (Fri, Aug 11)); Nicaragua (Sat, Aug 12), all Belize’s matches starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Belize team will field Daril Avila; Jiovanny Gonzalez; Eleazar Mejia; Francis Hauze; Edgar Martinez; Yserri Palacio; Kerwin Palacio; Karym Coleman; Bryton Codd; Kaelen Ingram; Hakan Godoy; Ernest Broaster, Jr.; Elton Anderson (Captain); and Raheem Flowers.

Team Belize’s head coach is Albert Humes, and assistant coaches are Wallace Tillett and Leon Leslie.