HAVANA, Cuba, June 7, 2023.- The Cuban team took the sting out of the 2022 match against the United States by winning in five sets (22-25, 25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 15-11) to dominate group B undefeated and became the other semifinalist of Men’s U-21 NORCECA Pan American Cup. Before, Canada advanced in Pool A.
The hosts showed a happy and confident game against a difficult rival who came to defend their crown with its quality of their game, although this time they could not smile despite beating the winners in blocking (16-10) and finishing balanced in aces (6-6) since the locals were superior in attacks (54-49).
In the 2022 edition, the clash also ended 3-2 (25-21, 25-14, 20-25, 24-26, 15-12), but the success went to the Americans and, like this Wednesday, the fans of the capital came to support the home team and returned home very happy after the victory.
Opposite Alejandro Miguel González was the top scorer of the game with 27 points, escorted by the outside hitters Bryan Camino and Jose Ramon Gomez, both with 14 points. For the Americans, outside hitter Trenton Moser added 26, followed by Owen Rose and Alexander Rottman, with 11 each.
In group B, Cuba (3-0), United States (2-1), Nicaragua (1-2) and Guatemala (0-3).
Cuban coach Jesus Cruz considered that “the United States always has good volleyball, because of its population they can change players and not lose the competitive level. It continues to be a force, we have grown and arrived with more experience. We went to the Alba Games where they played to a full room, these are elements that help us be better in this cup. This year we made fewer mistakes than in 2022 and the defense improved, but we are not satisfied, the blocking stops balls, but when we are behind in score, they don’t always get up. That was what our opponent did.”
One of the main players, Gómez, assured that “the team went out to fight, we had been preparing since we found out that the United States was going to be in our group, we revealed the tactical plan and the guidelines of the technical group, and we went out with all the grit and strength to win”.
Andy Read, coach of the United States, stated that “I am very proud of my boys, they did different things as we had planned in preparation and of course enjoying the game, the fans and playing against the locals, which is a merit. Our opponents had a more consistent game and Alejandro Miguel played a pretty strong game. Ours [game] is evolving in the tournament, it is improving step by step”.
The outstanding player of United States, Moser, valued that “today we found a team that is always strong, but much more concentrated and focused, they did a lot of damage with defense and when it came to defining the decisive points. It was a good match. We are evolving as the event goes on, from less to more”.