Canada Downs Puerto Rico in NORCECA U21 Semifinals

NOGALES, Mexico, June 15, 2024. – Canada defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 (25-12, 23-25, 25-14, 25-19) on Saturday in the Men’s U21 NORCECA Continental Championship semifinals in Nogales, Mexico.

This is the seventh time that Canada has reached the title match in the history of the U21 NORCECA event, having won the title twice. Canada will face the winner of the other semifinal between the United States and Cuba.

Puerto Rico has played in the bronze medal match seven times, winning the bronze twice.

CAN Hershtynovich attack

Canada also defeated Puerto Rico in pool-play, but in four sets.

Canada excelled in attacks (56-38), blocks (12-5), and service aces (3-2). Both teams had a similar number of errors, with Canada committing 25 and Puerto Rico 27.

Canadian opposite hitter Daniil Hershtynovich led all scorers  with 28 points (27 attacks, one  block). Outside hitter Piers De Greeff contributed 21 points (17 attacks, 2 blocks, 2 aces).

Puerto Rico defence

For Puerto Rico, Lorenzo Rivera led with 17 points, all from kills. Captain and opposite hitter Ramón Rosado scored 11 points from 10 attacks and one service ace.

Daniel Lewils, head coach of Canada said “Puerto Rico has a good skill level; they weren’t going to go away easily; we beat them 3-0 earlier so it’s always tough to face them again so we had to be super technical in our execution and very disciplined. There were some periods when we didn’t adjust properly, we weren’t technically or tactically taking something away and we didn’t, and it made things more difficult. I must prepare them mentally better to play that style of game where they shouldn’t be making errors. Tomorrow will be an easier game because whoever we play will have more height, which makes it easier to block, but we still must be tactical and be able to execute  our desired game plan”.

Puerto Rican outside hitter Diego López said, “It was a tough match. We entered with little confidence in ourselves. That changed in the second set, we’ve been working hard in practice and trust in our game. We couldn’t regain our spirit in the following sets. We must acknowledge that Canada is a tremendous team; they have one of the best programs in the world, which has taken them to the Olympics. We gave them a good fight”.