Argentina and Peru to battle for Olympic berth

Argentina and Peru play this Sunday in Bariloche to decide who will win the South American women’s Qualifier and book their ticket to the Rio Olympics.

MORE: Peru coach: Argentina won’t qualify for Rio | Angela Leyva hopes for better days | Roslandy Acosta keeps the faith in Venezuela |

Playing in front of a passionate crowd, Las Panteras have their biggest chance to finally make it to the Olympic Games.

For the young Peruvian squad, this is the chance to go back to the main sports stage after 16 years.

Las Panteras delighted their fans with a win over Colombia by 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-17).

Although seeming demotivated in the beginning, the Colombians started to show some disposition by the end of the first set.

Opposite Madelaynne Montaño, the tournament biggest star, did not show her power for Colombia on Saturday evening, scoring 12 points, performing below her average – when Argentina led third set 10-4, she was subbed out.

Argentinian opposite Leticia Boscacci was the top scorer with 16 (15 in attack and one block).

The Argentinians have lost just one set in three matches so far, against Venezuela on Thursday.

Peru reached their third victory and has not dropped a set yet in the South American women’s Olympic qualifier.

On Saturday the Peruvians beat Venezuela 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-22). Just like the previous day, a straight-sets victory, but no easy job.

The Venezuelans resisted as much as they could, but made too many mistakes, five more than Peru (21-16), especially in decisive moments.

Once again wing spiker Angela Leyva led her national team, scoring 14 points (12 in attack, one ace and one block).

Venezuela’s wing spiker Winderlys Medina, who came from the bench, was the game top scorer with 15, all of them in attack.

Expectation

The pressure from the Argentinian crowd, who has packed the small Pedro Estremador hall since the first round, filling up its 1,600 seats, is not a reason to be worried, according to Angela Leyva.

“We are used to deal with the pressure and we just have to get on the court and play our game,” the 19-year-old Peruvian wing spiker said.

Argentina’s Mimi Sosa thinks Team Peru is playing better now than they did during last year.

“They have reached a better level, making less mistakes, playing more balanced. Their squad does not have setter Zoila La Rosa, but her substitute, Alexandra Muñoz has been distributing very well, with precision,” analyzed the middle blocker, the main Argentinian player.

Second chance

Colombia has just to beat the weak Chileans on Sunday to confirm the third place in this qualifier. It is not bad at all. Better then finishing second.

Second and third places here in Bariloche will get another chance to qualify later in May.

Oddly, the third-placed team will have more chances to be in Rio than the second. The latter will play a world qualifier, including two strong European teams, one from Norceca (North, Central American and Caribbean Confederation), plus four Asian teams. Four berths will be given, one for the best Asian and three among the rest. Sounds like mission impossible to any South American squad playing this week in Bariloche.

Meanwhile, third place in the South American qualifier will face third from Norceca, and second and third from Africa.

The third from Norceca will be decided later tonight with the clash between Puerto Rico and Canada, in a tournament held in USA. The African qualifier will be held in Cameroon, next month.