U21 NORCECA Pan American Cup 2017
- Keyano College – Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
- May 16-21
Guatemala earned its first victory of the U21 Pan American Cup on Thursday, while Cuba swept Puerto Rico and Brazil topped Canada in four sets.
With its win, Brazil sewed up the South American qualifying spot for the U21 World Championships. The NORCECA spot is still up for grabs.
Next up, Puerto Rico faces Guatemala and Canada takes on Chile in the quarterfinals on Friday. Brazil and Cuba meanwhile await the winners in the semifinals and qualification round on Saturday.
Guatemala 3, Barbados 1
Barbados won the opening set 34-32, but Guatemala edged them 26-24 in Set 2 and cruised to the win with 25-14, 25-21 scores down the stretch. Barbados won the blocking battle 18-9 and served up three aces to Guatemala’s 1 but fell short in the overall score.
Wagner Chacon led all hitters with 24 points, including 19 kills and four blocks. Erik Flores added 14 points, with 12 kills and two blocks, while Carlos Lopez chipped in 11 kills.
“It was a game with a lot of up and downs,” Guatemala coach Reider Lucas said. “It wasn’t a one-sided game and we still made a lot of mistakes. We came out wishing to win, it was a tough game but luckily we made it. This win gives us the opportunity to keep competing as we will face Puerto Rico tomorrow. It gives us encouragement to stay in the tournament because we started the week with stronger teams like Canada and Brazil. Facing them was hard, but it really gave us more confidence. I’m very happy. The guys are very happy and focused.”
Adam Niles tallied 19 points to lead Barbados, with 16 kills and three blocks. Carlos Crus added 18, with 14 kills and four blocks, and Ashan Jordan managed 14 points, with three aces and 10 kills. Ahkeem Mayers put up five blocks to lead the team.
“Today, I don’t feel satisfied with my result,” Alberto Caballero, Barbados head coach, said. “This game was so different than when we played against Brazil. Today, nothing worked…. The main problem is today they didn’t have any confidence. Guatemala played defense and worked hard and just kept going. I am not happy with this match.”
Cuba 3, Puerto Rico 0
A strong service game lifted Cuba to a sweep of Puerto Rico. The Cubans won the match 25-15, 25-12, 25-20, including 14 aces.
Osneil Melgarejo led the Cubans with 14 points, with nine kills and five aces, while Miguel Lopez added 11 points, including six aces. Miguel Gutierrez added eight kills.
“My guys went out to play pretty well,” Cuban head coach Nicolas Vives Coffigny said “We accomplished our mission by being first of Group A. Now we have to wait and see what will happen later today. I’ll be watching Canada-Brazil tonight. Both teams are good so it’s hard to know who we will face in semi-finals on Saturday.”
Pedro Molia managed eight points to top the Puerto Rican scoring, posting seven kills and a block. The Puerto Ricans managed just 19 kills for the match.
Brazil 3, Canada 1
The Brazilians remained undefeated in the tournament and earned the South American spot in the U21 World Championships with a 3-1 win over Canada. Brazil won the match 25-17, 21-25, 25-20, 25-14.
“It was a very good game,” Brazil coach Nery Tambeiro Jr, said. “We played strong and took advantage of our height. We were worried the whole game, and not only after losing the second set. Canada is a good team and I don’t think tonight’s lost is a big problem for them because I’m sure that if we face each other again during the finals, it will be a total different game.”
Henrique Honorato led Brazil with 18 points.
“We told our guys this morning that Brazil was going to come out strong,” Canada head coach Gino Brousseau. “But it doesn’t matter what we say, they are young and inexperienced. It happened last year against Cuba. We all know that Brazil is one of the top volleyball countries and have more experience together than us. We are disappointed and the last set, but tomorrow is another day. We have to get ready for Chile. My players fought and they did well, especially in the second set. We are on a good track.”
Eric Loeppky managed 20 points to lead all hitters, and Sharone Vernon-Evans added 11 points, including three aces.
Watch the match here.
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