HAVANA, Cuba, October 4, 2022.- United States needed five sets to defeat Mexico in their first challenge decided in a tie-break a the U21 Men’s Pan American Cup held at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.
Both teams with great ambitions of reaching the final to win the two tickets available for the 2023 World Championship, witnessed a nice match due to Mexico´s resistance before falling 25-13, 24-26, 25-21, 22-25 and 15-12.
The northerners demonstrated effectiveness in attacks finishing with a difference of 62-42; in blocking they were more even (7-6) and topped in serves 10-5.
The leading scorer was outside hitter Zachary Rama (23), joined by opposite hitter Shane Wetzel (17) and Roberts Noah (17). Followed with double digits by middle blocker Marc Smith (11). On the opponent side outside hitter Leonardo Maldonado (18), opposite hitter Ángel Domínguez (14) and middle blocker Diego Esquivel (10).
Andy Read, head coach of United States: “Because of covid-19 we had some time without preparation. Mexico kept their positive energy during the match, more focused and their rhythm was more stable. My athletes weren’t well before nor during the game. I saw Mexico well prepared and offered a good resistance. We have an under-19 player and several college players from Long Beach, we got together 10 to 20 days before the event”.
Captain of United States Andrew Rowan: “It was a good match against Mexico, who played very well. We had a lot of fun. We are a tall team, and we have everything to win the tournament. Our opponents were really hard to defeat in defense and every skill of the game. They did well the whole time in serves and passing”.
Jorge Alberto Romero, head coach of Mexico: “I am excited, I liked how the team responded, it’s what we want, that can commit against an opponent no matter their height. We did damage with serves, we forced them to play from the outside and that way control their attack”.
Isai Castañeda, Mexican libero: “We started too slow and disorderly, nevertheless in the second we knew how to adjust and in the next we missed some small details. In the fourth we played very well, but in the fifth we pressed until the end and couldn’t win, but the team did a good job and will improve day by day. They always bring tall men; their blocking is orderly and took advantage when we were failing”.