Dominicana beat Mexico and secured second place in the Challenger

PINAR DEL RÍO, Cuba, June 5, 2022.- The Dominican Republic was more impetuous and defeated Mexico 3-2 (25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-9) to claim the second place of the Norceca Challenger Final Four, which concludes this Sunday in Sala 19 de Noviembre.

The Dominicans finished with a record of two wins, both extended to five sets, and a setback against the powerful team from Cuba, champion of the tournament. Mexico concluded with a balance of 1-2.

The Dominican team was led by its two figures with the longest time in the sport, Wilfrido Hernández, top scorer with 25, and Henry Omar Tapia, who contributed 20, followed by Henry Antonio López with 18.

For their rivals, the opposite Diego González was the most productive with 24, while Josué Lopez with 14, and Axel Téllez and Mauro Fuentes, with 11 each, were the ones who achieved double figures.

Dominicans celebrate defeating Mexico

José Alexander Gutiérrez, Venezuelan coach of the Dominican Republic: “We have just tried to mix experience and youth. We won the game, but we have to keep working, gaining experience and keep growing. In this match the fundamental thing was our serve, Mexico has good attackers and when you press them in reception they lose control. In the end we risked and won”

“This result joins the qualification for two junior world championships that the Dominican Republic had not achieved for more than 28 years and the 2023 Pan American Games that have never been done in a qualifying way, but we still have a long way to go.”

Wilfrido Hernández, top scorer of the game: “I think it was a game well played by both teams, Mexico has always been brave, fighting until the end. I think we won because we made fewer mistakes in the last set, we focused on serving strong, having a good complex one ourselves and forcing them to lower the pressure on their serve”.

Jorge Miguel Azair, Coach of Mexico: “We knew that this game was going to be long, we are teams that know each other very well, I think we have the same characteristics, in the end they were much more aggressive than us, in the fifth we gave away balls and took the bombs. They have to learn to improve their tactical work, they have to learn from this and emphasize this. We have to take the good from this tournament and discard the bad.”

Axel Téllez, central player: “Dominicana is not an easy team, every year we are always head to head, but honestly today their players were better in this game. But this does not end here, we have many competitions ahead of us and in the end they all serve us for our participation in the World Championship next August”.

Cuba defeated Mexico to secure first place and ticket to the 2023 World Final

PINAR DEL RÍO, Cuba, June 5, 2022.- The Cuban team beat Mexico 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-17) and added 10 points, unattainable for their rivals, and secured victory in the Norceca Challenger Final Four, as well as the quota for a similar world qualifying tournament for the League of Nations 2023.

This Sunday the hosts will say goodbye to Puerto Rico and even if they lose, they take the cup, because in the other duel, whether Mexico or the Dominican Republic wins, the team in question will achieve two successes just like the Cubans, but they would only obtain eight points, which allows them only a second place.

On Saturday against the Mexicans, the home opposite Miguel David Gutiérrez with 15 points and the corner player Marlon Yant in his debut with 14 points were the only ones with double figures, while the other leading attacker, Miguel Ángel López, contributed 9, and central defenders Roamy Alonso and Javier Concepción 6 each.

Adrian Goide (14CUB) from Cuba Setting

Nicolás Vives, Coach of Cuba: “Today I maintained a more stable lineup, we have to build up the team work and Mexico required a little more level than the Dominican Republic yesterday, I still require the setter Adrián Goide to work more with the fundamental attackers and introduce to Marlon Yant for communication with the setter. That’s why I kept the first four players on the court. Mexico has always been an opponent that you have to play against and the games are very good, they know how to play and they are a good team.

Roamy Alonso, Cuban middle blocker: “I see the team in good shape, today we got the victory and I’m super happy with the team and the coaching staff. Individually I feel just as good, a little tired because I’ve only been training for a week and I’m trying to take things easy, but doing my bit to contribute to the victory. In these rainy days we have been taking care of ourselves, despite giving our best”.

“With that great player that is Robertlandy Simón I am going to learn a lot, I will be like a sponge absorbing all the knowledge I can acquire to continue improving my career and what better than having a Cuban who can teach me everything”.

Jorge Miguel Azair, Coach of Mexico: “Cuba had years that they did not see the level they show again, they forced us a lot, we could not dominate our game with speed, we tried, we could not and that is what we need to do to play with these teams. There were times when we did, we complicated them; We got them aggressively, we complicated them, but the Cuban power, their service and their very powerful attack dominated us. I tell the boys that this is learning, as they say you win by losing, they have to learn to discipline themselves tactically”.

Axel Téllez, central player: “I saw my team with many ups and downs and a bit of anxiety, but it is a very new generation that we are starting from the bottom, honestly, with everything to gain and nothing to lose. My team is calm, I don’t see it sad, I don’t even want it to stay with something, but learning, because from defeats you learn much more, in the end that’s the sport, there are always victories and setbacks, the question here is only move forward without looking back and yes to what is coming”.

On the last date in the room on November 19 of this city to the west of the Island, Mexico-Dominican Republic (4:00 p.m.) and Cuba-Puerto Rico (6:00 p.m.) will face each other.

Cuban Gutiérrez MVP of the Final Four International League

PINAR DEL RÍO, Cuba, June 6, 2022.- Cuban Miguel David Gutiérrez of the champion team was elected the Most Valuable Player and the most outstanding opposite of the Norceca Challenger Final Four, which awarded a place to the winner for the 2023 world tournament Nations League qualifier.

The best spikers were, in this order, Marlon Yant (Cuba) and Wilfrido Hernández (Dominican Republic) and Antonio Elías Rodríguez (Puerto Rico) and Roamy Alonso (Cuba) as blockers.

Annel Cabrera (Puerto Rico) took the awards in three positions by distinguishing himself in defense, reception and libero, while his teammate Arturo Iglesias in his role as setter.

Henry Antonio López (Dominican Republic) was the other with more than one award as he finished top scorer and starred in the best service performance.

Cuba finished undefeated by winning all three of its matches and without losing a set; Dominican Republic became runner-up (2 wins and one loss); in third Mexico (1-2) and in fourth Puerto Rico, which could not score any victory.

Cuban Miguel David Gutiérrez MVP

The Cuban team secured a place for the 2023 qualifying world tournament for the League of Nations, but if they win the one scheduled for next month in South Korea, they are automatically inserted into that important annual event and the Dominican team would take their place.

During the last day in Hall November 19, the triple Olympic champion of Barcelona 92, Atlanta 96 and Sydney 2000, Marlenis Costa, and her partner Isel Saavedra, member of the Morenas del Caribe team since the second mid 1980s to mid 1990s.

Authorities from the government, sports and political and mass organizations recognized the outstanding contribution of these two players. 

Cuban champion said goodbye with victory over Puerto Rico

PINAR DEL RÍO, Cuba, June 5, 2022 – The Cuban team, champion since the second day, said goodbye with a victory over Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-21) to conclude their undefeated performance in the Challenger Final Four at Sala 19 de Noviembre, which on the final day was cheerfully cheered on by the local fans.

As in the previous two challenges, the host technical director, Nicolás Vives, made changes according to the trend in this tournament, since his pupils have just grouped up after their participation in foreign leagues and he needs to see them all play.

Even so, it was a very uncomfortable opponent for the young Puerto Rican team, which in all aspects was inferior in attack (44-25), blocking (7-6) and serving (10-1). Puerto Rico finished fourth with three losses.

Corner player Marlon Yant led the offense with 12 points, escorted by spiker Osniel Mergarejo and center back Roamy Alonso. For the rivals, the opposite Gregory Torres was the one who achieved the most points with 8.

Cuba (Gold Medal), Dominican Republic (Silver Medal), Mexico (Bronze Medal)

Nicolás Vives, coach of Cuba: “The match was good, the boys came out with desire, the important thing was the victory and we achieved it, that was the objective. Now we have a month of preparation in Havana, vital and key to organizing physical and technical-tactical situations until we reach the Final Six in Mexico in July, then the World Challenger at the end and the Pan American Cup in early August, already on the way to the World Championship”.

“In general, everyone in the boys plays well, it is a generation that has been new for five years and we are working with it, which is the most important thing to achieve great things. The dream has always been to be in the Olympic Games, we have the world championship ahead of us, we can achieve good results, although we have to work hard because it is an extremely strong tournament, but the team is fine and we are going to meet our goal.

Marlon Yant, top scorer of the challenge: “It was a game with ups and downs, we made some mistakes that we can iron out over time. We had an opponent who knows how to play volleyball, but I think that when we start training next week we are going to win in preparation for the competitions that are coming our way”.

 “This year the team has big commitments like the South Korea Challenger in July and our goal is to fight to qualify for the League of Nations, and in August the World Championship, in which we hope to have a good performance. On an individual level, I’m meeting my teammates in passing, receiving and communicating with them, which is very important”.

Setter Arturo Iglesias, captain of the Puerto Rico team: “I think we could never find a rhythm in the match, the reception was not good, they won the match with the serve and forcing us the tough play, that is, outside the net , high, uncomfortable, but we never managed to make that adjustment.”

“I think that with a team against Cuba the matches must be long if we want to beat them, we have to beat them on the ground, in reception, in serving and in passing, and we could never do that. Avoid as many mistakes. We have to work hard, mature more as a team, we have a lot of young talent, but we have to train a lot more if we want to have results”.

Dominicans win the first by beating Puerto Ricans in a tie-break

PINAR DEL RÍO, Cuba, June 4, 2022 – The Dominican Republic got its first victory in the Norceca Challenger Final Four by beating Puerto Rico in a hard-fought tie-break with scores of 25-23, 16-25, 25-22, 23-25 ​​and 16-14 to start the second day of this world qualifier at Hall 19 de Noviembre.

The match had many ups-and-downs, but the Dominicans pressed in blocking at key moments and tightened to close the sets, mainly in the fifth against a rival who never gave up, although it was dominated in the final stages of the partials in which they succumbed.

Corner player Henry Antonio López was the top scorer of the duel with 29 points, escorted by Henry Tapia (20) and Wilfrido Hernández (17).

For the Puerto Ricans, who added two setbacks, the most productive was striker Pedro Molina with 24 units, followed by opposite Gregory Torres (22), cornerback Pelegrín Vargas (17) and Antonio Elias Rodríguez (10).

Henry Tapia (1DOM)and Dominican teammate celebrating

Jesús Alexander Gutiérrez, Venezuelan coach of the Dominican Republic: “For us this is growth and learning, because those ups and downs are precisely due to that lack of experience. The most difficult thing at this level is to maintain and the work is for that, and this comes in addition, the positive result of winning the game, which is great for their mentality to continue to grow and this is part of our work and continue to grow for project ourselves”.

Henry Antonio López, top scorer of the match: “Team unity was the key to victory, we started to fight, served, blocked in decisive moments, that’s how we closed the game. In the attacks in complex one we were literally perfect, although once in a while they also worked well because of their offense on serve, but on that basis we were better. It was a super match, we knew how to keep up mentally”.

Gerardo de Jesús Sánchez, Coach of Puerto Rico: “Good game, we had it again, but we have to learn not to fail when the game is being defined, we had it there for two days and we didn’t execute when the truth was told and that cost the game. We have come with a young team, we have to keep working, because with these rivals you win and lose, but here they played better than us after the 20th point”.

Pelegrín Vargas, among the most outstanding: “We had a long night yesterday and although it is not an excuse, it would still be a complicated game winning or losing, we played on a streak and that consumes a lot of energy trying to come from behind and overcome two or three points, one gets more tired and there is a lot of physical and mental stress. We have to improve, with the group we have we can continue to improve, learning from these well-closed results, in which we could win, it hurts us, but we have to continue”.

Cuba debuted at home with victory over Dominican Republic  

PINAR DEL RÍO, Cuba, June 3, 2022.- Cuba made its home debut after more than two years without playing as a team with a victory over the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-23) in the opening match of the Challenger Final Four of Norceca playing in the hall 19 de Noviembre. 

Despite the heavy rains that hit precisely this western part of the Island that forced the opening times to be postponed, both teams offered a lively game despite the obvious superiority of the hosts over a very young and inexperienced rival team. 

Virtually all of their players played for Cuba, including a setter in each set. The top scorer of the challenge was the corner hitter Osniel Mergarejo with 11 points, and he was escorted by the opposite player Miguel David Gutiérrez and spiker Miguel Ángel López, both with 10 points. 

Dominican auxiliary hitters Henry Antonio López and Wilfrido Hernández scored 10 and 8 points, respectively. 

Livian Osoria (9CUB) and Osniel Mergarejo (2CUB) block

Nicolás Vives, coach of Cuba: “We are getting into the game, doing team work. That is why the possibility of everyone going out to play is important for the group and to continue working to achieve victories. I liked everything my team did, what sometimes annoys me when we relax a bit and stop pressing, it’s normal sometimes, but in general I saw the team very well”. 

 Miguel David Gutiérrez, second best scorer: “Despite the fact that we haven’t played together for a long time, the first result was quite good. We were able to connect as much as we could, each one brings their personal experience in the leagues, it is what we are looking for, although we still have a long way to go and we have other important competitions”. 

José A. Gutiérrez, coach of the Dominican Republic: “Cuba is a very good team, but it has weaknesses, and if you attack them you will have more options, but right now it is more important to organize ourselves and be more consistent in our approaches, beyond do the opposite and that is what we are looking for, that growth in achieving what we want to do. Precisely this type of game allows us to grow, the most difficult thing is to maintain and endure what comes when you face a team like Cuba, that’s part of learning “. 

Wilfrido Hernández, outstanding corner player for the Dominican Republic: “We are quite excited, we are almost entirely a young team and what we are looking for is development, that we improve every day and at the same time gain more experience. In the third set we improved our reception, we listened to what our coach told us and we tried to comply with it. Individually, I felt good, but I think I can offer more with a higher level of play.” 

Mexico defeated Puerto Rico in a hard-fought tie-break 

PINAR DEL RÍO, Cuba, June 3, 2022 – The Mexican team sensationally beat Puerto Rico in a hard-fought tie-break to seal the game 3-2 (26-24, 21-25, 26-24, 15-25 and 17-15) at the closing of the inaugural program of the Norceca Challenger Final Four, which takes place in the 19 de Noviembre Hall in the westernmost province of the Island. 

For the winners, the top scorers were the opposite Diego González with 24, and the corner player Josué López and the center back Axel Téllez, both with 14 each. 

Five Puerto Ricans achieved double digits, opposite Gregory Torres (21), striker Pelegrín Vargas (20), center Antonio Elías (12) and cornerback Omar Hoyos (10). 

Mexican players celebrating

Jorge Miguel Azair, Coach of Mexico: “I feel the difference in the fifth set more than anything, since we improved our reception and tightened the service as we had been doing before, but they had already tightened the serve in the second, third and fourth set. And the fundamental thing is that nothing happened with the boys because of the situation on the court due to the rain”. 

Christian Aranda, captain of Mexico: “It was a very intense match for both teams during the five sets and until the end of the last point, I think it helped us a lot to start the tournament and start to loosen up. The two teams developed very well and we bring in new players and that requires adapting to this new integration”. 

Gerardo de Jesús Sánchez, Coach of Puerto Rico: “I had two match points in the fifth set and we couldn’t close the match, we didn’t get a couple of balls in defense and we missed two or three balls in attack in important moments. It was a great game within the conditions of the field, although that is the same for both teams. However, there were many positive things, this is a young group surrounded by some with experience.” 

Arturo Iglesias, captain of the Puerto Ricans: “We made mistakes at key moments on serve and defense, but I’m very proud of my teammates because they played with their hearts and gave everything. It was a difficult day for both teams and difficult conditions to play. Now to rest and prepare for the next game against the Dominican Republic, which is very important”. 

Dominicans leave for Cuba to compete in the International League

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 1, 2022 – The Dominican Republic Men’s National Volleyball Team left ON Tuesday for Cuba where it will participate in the International League, a qualifier for the annual FIVB Challenger to the League of Nations.

The event in Cuba will be held on June 3, 4 and 5 in the province of Pinar del Rio and the host team Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico will also participate.

“We will do our best to have a good performance by representing our country in a dignified way,” said captain Henry Tapia, a star outside hitter with notable international experience.

The team is made up of the players Henry Tapia (captain), Luis David Reinoso, Wilfredo Hernández, Erik Florián, Dawilín Méndez, Henry López, Bryan Pepén, Mario Torres, Rafael Almonte, Mason William Matos, Luke Harrison Ramírez, Luther Rosario, Moisés Alexander Ortiz and Alexis Cruz.

“This group has 18 weeks of work. We have a very clear goal and that is to continue improving in the world ranking. We are currently in 32nd place and by the end of the year we hope to be in 27th place”, declared coach Alexander Gutiérrez during the press conference held in the main hall of the Regional Center for the Development of Volleyball.

Gutiérrez, who will be assisted by coach Dante Mañón, highlighted the fact that the Creating Olympic Dreams Program (Creso) has also welcomed the top team, which will allow them to participate on equal terms with teams that at the time were very far from above in terms of training facilities and opportunities to compete internationally.

Cubans enthusiastic about 2022 season for their men’s team

HAVANA, Cuba, May 31, 2022 – With the presence of Ariel Saínz, vice president of Inder and president of the Cuban Volleyball Federation (FCV), Nicolás Vives, head coach of the national volleyball team, and players, the official presentation was held this morning at the Ciudad Deportiva of the season of the Cuban team of that sport.

“We will have five major events that will constitute a gauge for the World Championship, and other qualifiers for the Central American and Pan American Games,” Sainz said.

“After two years without events scheduled by the FCV, we are back with our competitive system. Tomorrow the Norceca Challenger tournament will begin in the province of Pinar del Río, which will serve as a measure and will contribute significantly to the technical development of volleyball players”.

Saínz informed the press that the national team has a player base that began its international competitive activity in 2017, when it participated in the world championship in the under-21 category. “They were transiting through the contracting policy approved in our country and today they are positioned in world-class leagues.

Along with this, he mentioned the incorporation of players who represent “a pride that militates in the national team, such as the cases of Robertlandy Simón and Maykel Sánchez.”

He also referred to young people who have come from the lower categories and are the base of the group, such as José Miguel Gutiérrez and Julio César Cárdenas. “They would also be within that great group of players that FCV has to fulfill the route of international events.”

In this regard, he announced that from next season there will be news about the signing system.

For his part, Vives, who has just arrived from directing at the Hatta club in the United Arab Emirates, assured that the squad is in shape: “We have been training for about three weeks. The boys are motivated, working mainly on physical aspects and cohesion.

“We have taken advantage of the preparation and the 14 volleyball players that were designated are now ready for the competition in Pinar del Río. This Challenger will allow us to make some changes, move players and everyone participates.

Vives specified that Simón will not be in that tournament, since he was given a break at the end of his season in the Italian league recently. In any case, he assured that they will seek to reach the first place, already thinking about the world championship, which “will be extremely strong. Trust in Cuban volleyball that the athletes will give everything for the country”.

Regarding the prospects of the selection for the upcoming international commitments, Simón told the press that they are good and that he will classify in the different contests. “We will be focused on doing our job and we expect a good result this year.

“As we are Cuban players, we have the potential and characteristic to get where we want, but to do great things we have to work as a group. We have to focus on what we have done internationally and try to bring it together here. I think we can become a great team, the best of all time”, he concluded.