U21 NORCECA Pan American Cup 2017
Brazil earned its place in the Pan American Cup finals with a sweep of Guatemala, while Cuba advanced with a four-set win over Canada. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico sewed up fifth place in the tournament with a sweep of Chile.
Brazil and Cuba will meet with the gold medal on the line at 6 p.m. ET Sunday, while Canada and Guatemala vie for the bronze at 8 p.m. ET to wrap up Pan American Cup play. Brazil won Pool B with a 3-0 mark, while Cuba went 2-0 in Pool A.
Chile drops to the six place match against Barbados.
Brazil 3, Guatemala 0
Brazil racked up 13 blocks and doubled the kill output of the Guatemala side (50-25) in a 25-10, 25-16, 25-20 win Saturday night.
Gabriel Bertolini managed a match-high 13 points for Brazil, posting nine kills and a team-leading four blocks. Henrique Honorato added 12 points, posting 10 kills and two blocks.
“We always try to bring our good game, no matter who the opponent is,” Brazil coach Nery Tambeiro Jr, said. “We had a day off yesterday, so our players kind of lost their focus a little bit, but for tomorrow’s finals we will have to regain that focus. Whether it’s Canada or Cuba, we are going to be ready. We are going to do our best, keep focused and execute our game plan.”
Chacon Wagner put down eight kills to lead Guatemala. Erik Flores accounted for a team-best 10 points, with seven kills, two aces and a block.
“We knew facing Brazil will be difficult, they’re better than us,” Guatemala head coach Reider Lucas said. “My guys did their best and they tried to catch up with the Brazilian pace as the game went on.”
“The competition is not over yet, tomorrow we’ll play for the bronze medal. We want to enjoy it and finish with a good impression. We need more events like this one where we can play at this level to get better. It took us a lot of work to get there. It’s a good experience for the kids to compete at this level and slowly we will get better.”
Cuba 3, Canada 1
By winning Pool A, Cuba earned its spot in the semifinals. With a 3-1 win over Canada on Saturday, the team secured a gold medal match meeting with Brazil. Canada won the first set, but Cuba rebounded to win three straight, 25-22, 25-18, 25-19 to take the match.
Osniel Melgarejo and Miguel Lopez registered 18 points apiece to pace the Cuban side. Melgarejo put down 17 kills and added a block, while Lopez accounted for 16 kills, a block and an ace. Miguel Gutierrez (14) and Javier Concepcion (12) also managed double-digit point totals, including nine kills apiece. Gutierrez also served up a team-best five aces.
Sharone Vernon-Evans led Canada with 18 points, including 17 kills, while Eric Loeppky added 17 points, managing 12 kills, three aces and two blocks. McCarthy Fynnian put up three blocks to lead the team.
Puerto Rico 3, Chile 0
Sebastian Negron tallied 17 points, including 11 kills, two blocks and four aces, as Puerto Rico won 25-22, 25-14, 25-18 in the final classification match on Saturday.
Puerto Rico put down 32 kills to 22 for Chile and outblocked the Chilean side 7-3, but Chile won the battle at the service line 7-5.
In addition to Negron, Johan Leon posted 10 points for Puerto Rico, with nine kills and an ace. Antonio Elias put up four of the team’s seven blocks.
“We just came out and played with a lot of energy and focus – last night was a very tough match for us, so we talked to the guys and told them we needed their best today,” Puerto Rican head coach Angel Melendez said. “They came out relaxed, fought hard and didn’t commit as many errors. We wanted to be in the final four, but it is a tough tournament.”
Vicente Mardones led the Chilean side with 11 points, including eight kills and two blocks. Bastian Fuentes added six kills and three aces.
“We had issues attacking, defending, digging,” Chile coach Daniel Nejamkin said. “They didn’t think the game would be that complicated. But the main reason why we lost tonight is because my guys showed they were not able to handle the frustration. One more game tomorrow (for sixth and seventh place) to fix it.”