Canada beat Cuba to advance undefeated to U21 Pan Am Cup semifinals

HAVANA, Cuba, October 5, 2022.- Canada beat Cuba 3-1 in the most battled match until now and advanced directly into semifinals winning undefeated group B at the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.

The North Americans celebrated with scores of 22-25, 25-23, 25-23 and 25-17 in almost two hours of action in which the crowd cheered from start to finish, with music and joy for the battled contest dwelt on court.

Canada prevailed over the hosts with advantages in blocks (10-7) and serves (10-3), while in attacks they held a smaller difference (48-46), while committing more unforced errors than the home team (32-29).

The local opposite hitter Alejandro Miguel González once again finished as the leading scorer of the match with 24 points, followed by teammate Bryan Camino who added 13.

From the winners, outside hitter Reeve Gingera led his team with 19 points, while opposite hitter Brendan Mills and outside hitter Jacob Sargent contributed with 14 tallies each.

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Ben Josephson, head coach of Canda: “Some weeks ago when we came to Cuba with the group, we knew it was going to be a great match and very hard, and we did all we needed to do. And the match was as we expected it to be, and the fans were here always supporting their team. We made some tactical changes and the blocking worked well, and in the end, we pulled forward and get the victory”.

Gingera, the most productive of the team, said “the fans were magnificent, I was very nervous at the beginning because it’s my first international event, but little by little a overcame it. I am glad about everything and especially with the atmosphere here at the coliseum the entire time”.  

Jesús Cruz, Cuban coach considered “it was a difficult match, but it doesn’t keep us from our objective, which is to play the final to guarantee qualifying to worlds. We train to win, but also prepared for defeat. Today we lost against a team that had less errors and, in the end, we couldn’t sustain what we showed at the beginning of the first sets, we lacked concentration to close”.

Alejandro Miguel said “this match turned out to be complicated and hard, our game was better in the first set, in the following two we tried to include the middles more so the game wouldn’t be from zone two, it worked out well, but we couldn’t close. We must improve, but this will make us stronger for our objective of reaching the final, battle to win and qualify to worlds, we play for that”. The winner of pool A will be decided on Thursday after the match between the United States and Chile is finished, scheduled for 10 in the morning. Quarterfinals will be at 5 and 7pm.