HAVANA, Cuba, October 4, 2022.- Cuba kept their unbeaten record in pool A after dominating Nicaragua in straight sets (25-16, 25-20, 25-15) at the closure of day two at the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup, that grants two tickets for NORCECA to the 2023 Worlds.
The host benefited from their height and held advantage over a resilient opponent with 13-1 in blocking, while the attacking margin was 32-22 and in serves 11-8.
Once again, the most experienced Cuban player, opposite hitter Alejandro Miguel Gonzalez was the leading scorer of his team and the game with 15 points, followed by outside hitter Yusniel González (10), the other player with double digits. For the opponent, Jose Blandon led with 7.
Jesús Cruz, head coach of Cuba, said “the boys were a bit looser; it was expected as the games develop. We let everyone play once again because tomorrow we must win, and we want to have them ready if necessary”.
“Canada always brings a good team, a country that plays a lot of volleyball with quality and level, they have tall players that usually dominate every skill, it doesn’t matter the team they bring, it will always be a challenging game for both sides. And tomorrow it will be crucial to advance directly into semifinals”.
Álvaro Luis Ricardo, Cuban libero’s opinion “we can play a little better, we know our level of play. These opponents aren’t that strong, and we tend to get into their rhythm of play. But I know we can do more and tomorrow against Canada we must have a better effort, aiming for victory”.
Jorge Mena, head coach of Nicaragua, valued that “Cuba is a powerful team, strong, we congratulate them, but our arms didn’t fall, we were always there because we are here to compete, to give our best. They have a strong serve, they scored several points and that’s how we lost the second set, but we never gave up despite such a tall opponent. I congratulate my team that always battled”.
Middle blocker Rafael Hernandez, Nicaragua’s captain, said “we gave our best as always, we had some lows, then we recovered. Cuba has great height, too much for us, they are very fast and good in serves, but we fought”.