Samokov, Bulgaria, July 10, 2015 - Karina Ocasio scores impressive 33 points in their tight 3-2 (25-20, 25-22, 19-25, 13-25, 18-16) tie-break victory that went to sudden-death in the final set with little between the sides
Both sides were coming into the game in positive form and it was even in the early exchanges with the score at 8-7 to Puerto Rico who then had a momentum surge to take a four point lead at 12-8. Karina Ocasio was already in red-hot form for the Puerto Rican's as they kept the Czech Republic at bay, strengthening their lead to five at 21-16 before a brief comeback from the European side saw them close the gap to two points. However Puerto Rico regained their focus to take the set 25-20 for a 1-0 lead.
The second set began with Puerto Rico looking to take a hold of the game and they raced into a 10-6 lead as Ocasio was continuing her powerplay at the net to assert control. The lead increased to nine points at 16-7 with Puerto Rico looking to blitz the set but the Czech Republic made inroads into the deficit and clawed it level at 22-22. An Ocasio block saw Puerto Rico grab a two point lead and they wrapped the set up 25-22 for a 2-0 lead.
The Czech Republic needed to make a quick statement if they were to get themselves back into the match and they duly made the start they were after to go 12-9 in front. From this point in the third set, it was expected that Japan would fight back but the European side gre sronger increasing the lead to six points at one point. The Czech side were in no mood to let the set slip and wrapped up the third set 25-19 to pull it back to 2-1.
The Czech Republic buoyed by their third set win, took early control in the furth set to lead 8-2 with Eva Hodanova leading the charge for the European side with her power spiking showing it's class. The gap between the side continued to rise as he Czech Republic went 22-13 ahead and with the momentum now firmly in their favour they wrapped up the fourth set without letting Puerto Rico back in with a score of 25-13 to level the tie at 2-2 and take it into a deciding tie-break.
Puerto Rico were first out of the blocks in the deciding set to take a 4-2 lead in the race to 15. The Czech Republic leveled the tie at 5-5 before each side exchanged points as it got to the back part of the tie. Nothing could seperate the sides as they reached 14-14 all to take it into sudden death. Both Ocasio and Hodanova had played a huge part in the match and it finally ended with Puerto Rico taking the tie 3-2 with an 18-16 win.
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