San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 16, 2017 – Karina Ocasio scored 25 as Puerto Rico won a back-and-forth match 3-2 (26-24, 22-25, 25-18, 33-35, 15-7) over Bulgaria in FIVB World Grand Prix Pool F2 in San Juan.
Daly Santana contributed 20 for the hosts, who finished the weekend unbeaten and evened their WGP record at 3-3 and 7 points. Bulgaria’s Gergana Dimitrova led all scorers with 26 points, while teammate Miroslava Paskova added 21. Bulgaria is now also 3-3, but with 11 points so far in the WGP.
The first set was back and forth, with both teams with three-point leads before it tightened at the end, with Puerto Rico winning 26-24. The second set also started close, but Bulgaria took the lead at 8-7 and never gave up that lead in winning the set 25-22. The hosts then broke open a close third at the midway point, winning it 25-18 to take a 2-1 lead.
The fourth set started out close, but Puerto Rico twice had a 4-point lead and was ahead 23-20. But Bulgaria tied the match at 23-23, survived five match points and won the set 35-33 to force the tiebreak. But Puerto Rico dominated the fifth set, steadily stretching their lead until the won it 15-7.
The two teams will travel to Varazdin, Croatia for the final weekend of Group 2 play. They will play each other on Friday night to start Pool I2.