HAVANA, Cuba, October 4, 2022.- The Chilean team won 3-0 to Dominican Republic in their Men’s U21 Pan American Cup debut in a challenging closing battle by 25-17, 25-21 and 40-38 that lasted almost two hours.
Chile, who couldn’t play the first day due to flight delays, overcame the Caribbeans in attacks (41-40), blocks (11-7) and serves (6-4).
Four players added 14 points during the match, South Americans Rafael Fuentes and Antar Derpich, as well as Dominicans Ronny Molina and Antonio Gómez. Two other Chileans achieved double digits, Leonardo Menéndez (11) and Martin Collao (10).
Iván Villarreal, head coach of Chile said “a debut always has complications, mostly in this base category because of how to control emotions, stress, and the fear to fail. Volleyball permanently is testing you and, on most occasions, athletes are overwhelmed emotionally”.
“The first two sets their game was pretty solid, the serves did well, and the rotation was fluid. We had an emotional crisis in the last set, but in the end, we were able to react against several set points against us and close it with an unusual score (40-38)”.
Opposite hitter Derpich described the match as very hard “we know that up against Dominican Republic, who has a smooth volleyball like ours, they always fight. It was a match from more to less, physically demanding and in this beautiful gymnasium we hop the fans enjoyed it a lot. I am glad to begin with the right foot, showing our nice volleyball and I am anxious for what the team can do”.
José Dante Manon, head coach of Dominican Republic felt sorry “in that last sed only with one reception we could have evened the match, but they paid for their inexperience, we must continue working with the boys. Our attack failed, these are elements that happen at this age that it’s not possible to keep the consistency, a level and more so when there’s no preparation for the event”.
Outside hitter Ronny Molina expressed “if we are going to lose, we’ll do it as warriors, we almost tied the game for a fifth set. We really came to give everything, but things didn’t go well like the first day, we played different. We recovered in the third and we almost won it. I hope we come with more tomorrow”.