U21 NORCECA Pan American Cup 2017
Day 2 of the Pan America Cup featured a trio of matches and saw Canada and Brazil move to 2-0 on the young tournament. Volleyball Canada defeated Barbados in a sweep (25-14, 25-17, 25-16), while Volei Brazil won 3-0 over Guatemala (25-14, 25-10, 25-11). Puerto Rico defeated Chile (1-1) in the opening match of the day, winning 3-1 (23-25, 25-12, 25-21, 25-10).
The Canadians gave the crowd at the Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre a lot to cheer about in Set 1 and 2, but had to bounce back from a slow start in Set 3 to complete the sweep.
“We had a good a good start, but I had to be insistent at one point because they were not doing well, but we came back after that,” Canada coach Gino Brousseau said. “At this level you have to be on top of your game all the time – it doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net. You have to give 100 percent, and if you give your opponent an opportunity, they will take advantage of that. I’m very pleased because they came back and we had a good finish. We have to work on our game plan for tomorrow because playing Brazil will be a big challenge for us.”
Canada’s Eric Loeppky added 17 points in lifting his team to its second win of the competition, after downing Guatemala to open play.
Gabriel Garcia posted 19 points, including five aces, in Puerto Rico’s win over Chile to lead all scorers on the day. Ivan Fernandez added 11 points. Puerto Rico also had help from 10 aces in the four-set win. Chile rallied to take Set 1, but Puerto Rico bounced back and cruised to the victory. Chilean middle blocker Bastian Fuentes’s 15 points was not enough to guide his team to a win.
“We tried to be strong on service and I think that is what gave us the victory,” Puerto Rican head coach Angel Melendez said. “And we stuck to our plan of taking care of defense and neutralizing their middle.”
Brazil made quick work of Guatemala (0-2) as Victor Cardoso put up 11 points and Felipe Roque added eight. Brazil put up 10 blocks for the second straight match. Meanwhile, Erik Flores managed seven points for Guatemala.
“This match is really to prepare for the next match tomorrow against Canada,” Brazilian head coach Nery Tambeiro said. “Canada, Cuba and Brazil are at a level above the other teams, and tomorrow we will really see at what stage we are at against these other strong teams.”
Next up, Barbados faces Guatemala, Cuba meets Puerto Rico and Canada tangles with Brazil on Thursday.
The tournament is a qualifier for the U21 World Championships with the South American and NORCECA spots up for grabs.