Cuba moves into Semifinals at San Salvador 2023

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, June 30, 2023.- Cuba defeated Mexico 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 19-25, 25-18) to win Pool A and move into the Men’s Volleyball semifinals at the 2023 San Salvador Central American and Caribbean Games on Friday at the Sports Palace Carlos El Famoso Hernández.

Cuba undefeated 3-0 will play in Saturday’s semifinals against second place in Pool B, most likely the representatives of Centro Caribe Sports, as there’s still one match left of that pool.

Mexico with 1-2 record will play for positions 5 to 8.

Mexico was more effective winning the third set, the only occasion they were on top of Cuba and kept momentum while playing longer rallies to force a fourth set.

Cuba’s advantage in blocking (13-2) and points from serves (7-1) made the difference to come out on top. Both teams scored a similar number of points from attacks, with Mexico leading 47 to 43.  Cuba committed 29 unforced errors and Mexico 31.

Middle blocker Javier Concepción led Cuba with 12 points, leading in blocks with 4 points, as well as in points from serves with 3.  Outside hitter Marlon Yant contributed with 10 points and opposite Jesus Herrera, performing only in the first two sets, added 8 points.

Mexico’s top scorer was middle blocker Victor Parra with 11 attacking points. Outside hitter Josué López and opposite Luis Hernández score 9 points each.

Javier Concepción, CUB, spikes

Javier Concepción, top scorer of Cuba: “We were too relaxed in the third set because we thought we had already won the match, that cost us the set and we shouldn’t be overconfident against any team, no matter who the opponent is. We haven’t reached our goal; we are going for the gold. People say we are the tournament favorites, and we hope to prove it”.

Nicolás Vives, Head Coach of Cuba: “This is one step more for winning the Central American Games, this group hasn’t been champions. We lost the third set because the guys are used to getting relaxed, they lose concentration, just like they did against the Dominican Republic; they think their opponent won’t play, we lose focus and that makes us commit more errors”.

Said Bravo, libero of Mexico: “We have the potential; we have to work harder and believe we can be at the level of play as a team like Cuba”.

Jorge Azair, Head Coach of Mexico: “Our result in the competition is because of our first performance against Dominican Republic, that’ the reality. We must evaluate because we aren’t attacking nor serving; we don’t score from kills, and we don’t put difficulty with our serves. We must work harder and make a serious evaluation; we aren’t performing orderly”.