HAVANA, Cuba, October 8, 2022.- Canada beat Cuba in exciting tie-break battle (13-25, 25-19, 25-15, 22-25, 15-12) and claimed the bronze medal at the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.
The North Americans finished with better number in attacks (48-38) and blocks (12-10), while the hosts dominated in serves (12-9) and committed more errors (36-31) in a match that lasted two hours and 14 minutes.
Outside hitter Sargent led all scorers with 26 points, followed by teammate middle blocker John Obi, who added 11. For Cuba, opposite hitter Alejandro Miguel González scored 25 tallies and outside hitter Bryan Camino added 16; the only players with double digits from both teams.
Ben Josephson, head coach of Canada commented “playing a bronze medal match is hard because you are disappointed from semifinals, but these are two good teams that perform at a high level and today we played five sets. I think it was balanced, Cuba won the firs, we the second and third, and they recovered the fourth and evened the scores to reach a fifth”.
“I’m not happy because we didn’t qualify to worlds, but I am proud of the boys of how the battled yesterday and they did again today. I liked everything from this event, the fans were there all the time, both times against Cuba was challenging and both teams have good quality”.
Outside hitter Aaron Elser said “we knew we could win, and they did too, but we didn’t expect the way they started in the first set. Cuba is a solid team and we focused on blocking to stabilize the defense, and there’s no doubt that contributed to our victory”.
Cuban coach Jesús Cruz said “we came to play aware of how hard it would be, we did it with ups and downs, but we are still missing the final touch to finish with the opponent. This is good generation, we expect several players to be in the national team in four or five years, little by little they will have the level of play for it. We didn’t qualify for worlds, we didn’t win a medal, but it was an opportunity for these athletes to measure themselves”.
The most outstanding Cuban, Alejandro Miguel said “we lost against Canada because we were too confident, they weren’t physically well, technically yes, but we couldn’t recover, maybe hurt from yesterday’s match against United States. We are a good group of young players with good height, we must continue working and this tournament has shown me that I need to work a lot to reach my personal goal, I want to be the best volleyball player in the world, play with the national team and win world championships. I don’t want to be the best of the team; I want my team to win”.