Canada Beats Cuba in Five Sets and Advance to Gold Medal Match

CHARLESTON, W.Va., USA (Sept. 9, 2023) – Canada booked a ticket to the gold medal match with a 3-2 (18-25, 25-21, 25-17, 24-26, 15-13) win over Cuba on Saturday in the semifinals of the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

Canada (3-0) will play the United States (4-0) in Sunday’s gold medal match. Cuba (3-2) will play Dominican Republic (2-2) for bronze.

The match was a battle between two passionate teams. Canada led in attacks (66-54) and aces (9-6). The teams were tied in blocks (12-12). Cuba scored 30 points on Canada’s errors and gave up 20.

Nine players scored in double figures, five from Canada and four from Cuba.

Canada outside hitter Stephen Maar led all scorers with 28 points on a match-high 25 kills, two blocks and one ace. Opposite Arthur Szwarc added 22 points on 18 kills, one block and three aces.

Opposite Jesus Herrera led Cuba with 18 points on 14 attacks, two blocks and two aces. Outside hitter Marlon Yant totaled 16 points on 14 spikes and two blocks.

Middle blocker Danny Demyanenko had a match-high five blocks for Canada. Canada libero Justin Lui was credited with 12 digs and 11 excellent receptions.

Canada middle blocker Danny Demyanenko attacks against Cuba

Canada Head Coach Tuomas Sammelvuo: “I am very proud of our players. It’s their big victory of character. We started very tense, and it brings that will to spike every ball harder and harder, like we did in the beginning of the game, without big ideas. With Cuba, if we go power against power, they are stronger. I am very proud of the guys that we found our balance and we started to attack well and smart.”

Cuba Head Coach Jesus Angel Cruz Lopez: “It was a tremendous volleyball match, and we had to endure the tougher part; we lost the game. Canada has been a formidable opponent in our recent encounters and one of our direct rivals in the quest for the Olympic Games. As I’ve mentioned before, in this tournament, we aim to secure one of the three top spots. Tomorrow, we have the bronze medal match ahead of us, and we need to win it, in addition to gaining as many points as possible to continue improving our ranking. We saw a Cuba team that fought for victory at every moment, they didn’t give up, and we had to bear with the loss”.