U21 NORCECA Pan American Cup 2017
Keyano College – Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
The semifinals of the Pan American Cup are set as Guatemala outlasted Puerto Rico in five sets and Canada advanced with a four-set win over Chile. Guatemala will now face Brazil, while the Canadians will take on Cuba. Both matches will be played Saturday night along wisth the final classification match between Puerto Rico and Chile.
Chile/Puerto Rico will be played at 4 p.m. ET followed by Brazil/Guatemala (6 p.m. ET) and Cuba/Canada (8 p.m. ET). Live streaming will be available here.
Guatemala 3, Puerto Rico 2
Guatemala won sets one , three and five in a close back and forth battle with Puerto Rico to earn its spot in the semifinals. Guatemala won the match 25-13, 22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 16-14.
Puerto Rico won the blocking battle 9-2 and put down 63 kills to Guatemala’s 55, but could not manage the victory.
Wagner Chacon led the winning side with 21 points, all on kills, while Erik Flores chipped in 18 points, with 14 kills, a block and three aces. Carlos Lopez added 11 kills.
“My guys knew they had to do their best and they did. Puerto Rico was one of the favourite teams of the tournament,” Guatemalan head coach Reider Lucas said. “They’re taller and they played very well. My guys gave everything they could to now be one the best four teams. That’s a very good feeling. Tomorrow will be another day. Now I’m really happy with this result.”
Pedro Molina again laid it all out there for the Puerto Ricans, registering a match-high 28 points, including 24 kills and a team-leading three blocks, but it was not enough. Sebastian Negron added 18 kills, while Randy Perez managed 10 kills and three blocks.
“Guatemala showed a lot of character today, so they deserve the win,” Puerto Rico head coach Angel Meléndez said. “We started slow and we made a lot of silly mistakes that cost us the game. Guatemala was just better than us today.”
Canada 3, Chile 1
Canada stayed alive in the race for the Pan Am Cup title with a 25-15, 25-18, 22-25, 25-10 win over Chile on Friday.
Canada dominated the stat sheet, putting down 48 kills to Chile’s 30, managing 14 blocks to 9 and serving up eight aces, while allowing just two.
“We had a good start, but for some unknown reason, we just fell apart (in the third set),” Canadian coach Gino Brousseau said. “We didn’t respect the opponent – in my mind we thought that after two sets the game was over. We poked the bear and after that, we were in trouble and all the pressure was on us. We were afraid to make mistakes, but I made some subs and we came back strong.”
Eric Loeppky and Sharone Vernon-Evans accounted for 19 points apiece in the win. Loeppky managed 15 kills, two blocks and two aces, while Vernon-Evans put down 17 kills and added a block and an ace. Taryq Sani put up four of the team’s 14 blocks and served up a team-best three aces.
Vicente Mardones led Chile with 13 points, including 12 kills. Bastian Fuentes added three blocks.
“We played way better in the first three sets than we never did during the whole tournament so far,” Chilean head coach Daniel Nejamkin said. “We played pretty well; it was actually our best game. Tomorrow, we will face Puerto Rico and I hope we would be able to play at the same level than today to end this Pan Am Cup on a good impression. We didn’t started the tournament pretty well so my goal is now to finish playing well.”