Mexico won the semifinal to Canada and a ticket to U21 Worlds

LA HABANA, Cuba 7 de octubre de 2022.- Mexico sensationally beat Canada 3-2 (25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 20-25, 15-13) advancing to the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup final with a ticket to the 2023 World Championship.

When everything seemed to be over in the third set with Mexico sealing the win, Canada killed the party for a moment with two lethal aces and dominated by far the fourth set.

Nevertheless, in a challenging tie-break Mexican player were more confident and celebrated big earning a ticket to the Worlds but aspiring to be on top here.  

Canada held advantage in attacking (53-44) and serving (10-9), but committed more unforced errors (44-33), while Mexico controlled in blocking (11-8) in a match that lasted 2 hours and 14 minutes.

Leading all scorers was Canadian Cory Schoenherr (21), who alongside outside hitter Reeve Gingera (17) were the only players with double digits for Canada.

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Mexico clebrates qualifying to the 2023 World Championship

For the first semifinal winning team, the offense was led by middle blocker Leonardo Maldonado with 20 points, joined by also middle blocker Diego Esquivel (18) and opposite hitter Ángel Iván Domínguez (12).

Jorge Alberto Romero, head coach of Mexico expressed “I am very excited, but a bit frustrated because we lost the third set with only two points to win. We started the tie-break strong; we knew if we let Canada rise, we could never stop them, my boys understood, they played calmly”.

“Our strategy was making their receiving uncomfortable so they couldn’t play from the middle and that was overwhelming the entire match. We pressed with serves. I told them to live the tie-break like it was a final because we were playing for the qualification, I lowered my intensity to let them know that I trusted them”.

Outside hitter Leonardo Maldonado said “we started off well, strong, united, but we were overconfident, we lacked concentration in the third, we almost had it, but the best part is that in the end we won, and we are going to worlds. I am proud of my team, of their work and thankful with all that’s been done to be here and reach our main objective, the qualification”.

Ben Josephson, head coach of Canada said, “We committed too many errors, I am disappointed, we had three points for the win and qualify to the world championship and we couldn’t after tying the game”.