Melanie Guadalupe Parra Quintero (MEX) in action against Argentina
Yokohama, Japan, September 30, 2018 - Samantha Bricio was the difference as Mexico edged Argentina 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-23) in a closely-fought encounter in the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on Sunday, scoring 21 points - including five aces - to deliver Ricardo Naranjo’s side their first win in Pool A at this year’s competition.
Bricio notched the most points for Mexico but 16-year-old Melanie Guadalupe Parra Quintero was the star of the show, putting up 18 points, 17 of which came from spikes.
Despite going down in straight sets Argentina were within touching distance throughout, and Julieta Constanza Lazcano and Josefina Fernandez posed their biggest scoring threats as they registered 10 points apiece.
Both teams had lost their opening games in Yokohama, Mexico falling to a surprise 3-1 reverse against Cameroon and Argentina defeated 3-0 by hosts Japan, and had the chance to pick up rare victories on this stage. Mexico had lost each of their last 16 matches at the World Championship - a run stretching back to a 3-2 triumph over West Germany in 1982 - while Argentina had won just one of their last nine games, 3-0 against Tunisia in their final game of the 2014 championship.
As a result the match started at a ferocious pace, with both teams, who had never faced each other at a major world level competition, seeking to gain the initiative. In a sign of things to come it was Quintero who got the first point on the board with an unstoppable spike, but while she was to go on to be the standout player in this game it was Mexico captain Rangel who shone in the first set, soaring through the air time and again to deliver nine points all from spikes and help her side to a 25-20 first set win.
Bricio then stepped up to the plate in a second set that swung to and fro, delivering seven points, three of which came on serve, including back-to-back aces to make it 24-23. The second of those was challenged unsuccessfully by Argentina, and although Bricio’s next serve was returned Quintero was on hand to slam it back and put Mexico two up.
Quintero, who was forced off injured in Saturday’s loss to Cameroon, came into her own in the third set, contributing seven more points on spikes plus a single ace as her side once again kept their noses just in front of a spirited Argentina side to seal a straight sets win.
Mexico’s next opponents come in the form of Japan on Monday, when Argentina will also be in action again against Germany.