Cuba books first ticket to the Gold Medal Match at San Salvador CAC Games

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, July 1, 2023.- Cuba became the first team to book their ticket the Gold Medal Match in Men’s Volleyball at the 2023 San Salvador Central American and Caribbean Games after winning their semifinal 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-17) to the representatives of Centro Caribes Sports -Guatemala- on Saturday.

The last time Cuba played for gold was in 2006 in Cartagena, Colombia when they lost to Puerto Rico. This is the fourteenth occasion that Cuba reaches the gold medal match of the CAC Games, winning an overall of ten titles.

Cuba will face the winner of the other semifinal between Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. CSC (GUA) is going for the bronze medal for the first time in the history of the Games.

Cuba was dominant over CCS, giving its starters a rest and using Miguel Angel Lopez in the libero position. Cuba led by a huge 40-29 advantage in attacking points, as well as in blocks by a 10 to one difference. Both teams scored four points from serves. Cuba benefited from 21 opponent errors against 13.

Jose Miguel Gutierrez of Cuba scored a match-high of 15 points, on 13 kills, one block and one ace. Middle blocker Endriel Pedroso added 11 points on 6 kills, a match-high of four blocks and one ace.

Middle blocker Andy Leonardo led Guatemala with 9 points on eight kills and one ace. Team captain Carlos Lopez and opposite Erik Flores contributed with 8 points each.

José Guiterrez, CUB, blocks

Osniel Mergarejo, Captain of Cuba: “We are satisfied to battle in the gold medal match, our goal is to win it, we are going with our all. The most difficult part of the tournament has been that we are a little tired from performing at the VNL. We are here to compete, to do things well and then return to VNL”.

Carlos López, Captain of CSC: “It’s a historic feat to play for a medal, the fact of competing here and facing a team like Cuba is a success for us, we learn, we improve. Today we weren’t afraid of Cuba, we played with character and good attitude, that gives us confidence that we will battle hard for third place”.

Reider Lucas, Head Coach of CSC: “Performing at this level benefits our team. We went out to compete, we made errors, but that is part of the game; the guys have grown and aren’t scared of competing against teams of a higher level”.