Andrew Rowan of USA U21 Pan American Cup Most Valuable Player

HAVANA, Cuba, October 8, 2022.- The captain of Champion USA, setter Andrew Rowan, was named the Most Valuable Player and the best server of the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup that concluded on Saturday night at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.

The two most outstanding in attacks, first Bryan Camino (Cuba) and Zachary Rama (United States), while the best in blocking were Martin Collao (Chile) and Marc Smith (United States).


Completing the honor role was Alejandro Miguel González (Cuba), the best scorer and best opposite; Logan Greves (Canada), the best receiver, as well as Axel Altamirano (Nicaragua), distinguished as the most outstanding defense and libero.

United States battled for the gold medal against Mexico and both teams earned the two tickets available for the 2023 World Championship, while Canada beat Cuba for the bronze.

Followed by Dominican Republic, Chile, Haiti, and Nicaragua.

United States Men’s U21 Pan American Champion

HAVANA, Cuba, October 8, 2022.- United States sealed their undefeated performance sweeping Mexico 25-19, 30-28 and 25-14 winning the Men’s U21 Pan American held at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.

The Americans didn’t give their rivals a chance with a steady performance, showing superiority win attacks (37-24), blocks (11-5) and serves (8-4), with five more errors (27-22) in one hour and 22-minute contest, between both teams that take home the two berths for the 2023 World Championship.

The only players scoring double digits were precisely from the champions, led by opposite Shane Wetzel, who scored 13. Outside hitter Zachary Rama added 12 and 10 by middle blocker Nyerovwome Omene.  

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United States U21 Pan American Champion

Andy Read, United States veteran coach said “the second set was very hard, we were down and were able to recover, but the Mexicans were strong. I am happy and very proud of my team, that these 12 boys are pride of our country and represented it in this event and because it gives them the chance to play the 2023 World Championship”.

Libero Christopher Connelly expressed “it was a great match, we had a lot of fun, we gave all our energy and effort to win the gold medal; the event was incredible, very good, I liked the crowd, they gave all the energy that the tournament needed, and they inspired Mexico and Cuba”.

Mexican coach Jorge Alberto Romero explained “their performance was outstanding the entire tournament, we were expecting them to go one on one against United States, Canada or maybe Cuba, who I would’ve like to play against. The U.S. serves affected us, the reception wasn’t adequate, every effort was made. We must work in the psychological part and reception”.

Isai Castañeda, Mexican libero, said “we qualified to worlds, but our goal was set on winning the tournament and we have that bad feeling because we didn’t strive as much as we could have. We began lazy and we were like that the entire match, we tried to put pressure only during the second set, but we didn’t do our job well and in the third we committed too many errors, United States grew, they had more character than us and everything flowed more for them”.

Canada claims bronze at U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 8, 2022.- Canada beat Cuba in exciting tie-break battle (13-25, 25-19, 25-15, 22-25, 15-12) and claimed the bronze medal at the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.

The North Americans finished with better number in attacks (48-38) and blocks (12-10), while the hosts dominated in serves (12-9) and committed more errors (36-31) in a match that lasted two hours and 14 minutes.

Outside hitter Sargent led all scorers with 26 points, followed by teammate middle blocker John Obi, who added 11. For Cuba, opposite hitter Alejandro Miguel González scored 25 tallies and outside hitter Bryan Camino added 16; the only players with double digits from both teams.

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Ben Josephson, head coach of Canada commented “playing a bronze medal match is hard because you are disappointed from semifinals, but these are two good teams that perform at a high level and today we played five sets. I think it was balanced, Cuba won the firs, we the second and third, and they recovered the fourth and evened the scores to reach a fifth”.

“I’m not happy because we didn’t qualify to worlds, but I am proud of the boys of how the battled yesterday and they did again today. I liked everything from this event, the fans were there all the time, both times against Cuba was challenging and both teams have good quality”.

Outside hitter Aaron Elser said “we knew we could win, and they did too, but we didn’t expect the way they started in the first set. Cuba is a solid team and we focused on blocking to stabilize the defense, and there’s no doubt that contributed to our victory”.

Cuban coach Jesús Cruz said “we came to play aware of how hard it would be, we did it with ups and downs, but we are still missing the final touch to finish with the opponent. This is good generation, we expect several players to be in the national team in four or five years, little by little they will have the level of play for it. We didn’t qualify for worlds, we didn’t win a medal, but it was an opportunity for these athletes to measure themselves”.

The most outstanding Cuban, Alejandro Miguel said “we lost against Canada because we were too confident, they weren’t physically well, technically yes, but we couldn’t recover, maybe hurt from yesterday’s match against United States. We are a good group of young players with good height, we must continue working and this tournament has shown me that I need to work a lot to reach my personal goal, I want to be the best volleyball player in the world, play with the national team and win world championships. I don’t want to be the best of the team; I want my team to win”.  

Dominican Republic fifth place at U21 Pan Am Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 8, 2022.- Dominican Republic beat Chile in a match that extended to five sets (15-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 15-13) and finished fifth place at the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup at Ciudad Deportiva.

The match lasted a little over two hours in which the South Americans attacked more (52-44) and led in serves (8-7), the Caribbeans pressured in blocks (12-7) and in the end finished best. Chile committed three errors less (36-39).

Dominicans most productive player was outside hitter Ronny Molina with 22 tallies, accompanied by Antonio Gomez with 15.

For the opponents Antar Derpich led all scorers with 25 points and Fuentes, also outside hitter, added 16.

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Dominican Republic fifth place at U21 Pan Am Cup

José Dante Manon, Dominican coach considered that “with this fifth place it went well for the team we brought, young players with their first competition of the year, we didn’t have preparation matches, two players weren’t able to travel. Today they adjusted better in blocking and serving, that was the difference. A positive participation, the more games and sets they gain more experience and opportunities to perfection their actions. Important when you coach players who are so young”.

Captain Luther Rosario expressed how proud he is of his team, “the first time I’m captain and this is a great group. There are little details we need to work on. Chile is a difficult team, we always are challenged by them, but this time we were able to adjust our blocking better, serve more effectively and we still lack a bit in attacking, nevertheless, we did much better and that helped to victory”.

Iván Villarreal, head coach of Chile, said once again “we are in a process of development, giving opportunities for athletes to compete as much as we can at a national and international level, which we are doing. We must evaluate each players development, which is crucial to design and adjust, taking in consideration the greatest number of players with level to develop”.

17-year-old outside hitter Felipe Valenzuela, said “sixth place is bittersweet and unexpected, because we came with a reinforced team, and we could have done much more to win the games. I am leaving with a lot of f experience, it’s great to face opponents with level, a great experience for me, an under-19 player. I also think the Coliseum is spectacular, a warm and nice atmosphere”.

Haiti finished seventh at Men’s U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 8, 2022.- Haiti defeated Nicaragua 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-18) and finished in seventh place of the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup.

The Caribbeans were better in blocking (13-5), evened in serves (3-3) and were close in attacks (50-54), committing fewer errors (26-31).

Haitian opposite hitter Estakend Beauvoir led all scorers with 33 points, followed by his teammate outside hitter Seraphin Antoine, who added 15. For the opponents, two players also scored double digits, outside hitter Denis Espinoza (14) and middle blocker Rafael Hernández (13).

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VICTOR CRUZ (1NCA) against Haiti double block

Junior Siecle, head coach of Haiti said “We thought we could have reached forth or fifth place, we couldn’t reach our goal, but now we are satisfied of not being in last. Today my players performed joyfully and with a little more efficiency. If we could have played like this at the beginning, we would have finished in the positions we desired”.

Captain Dieulengy Relis said “we consider this a final because we didn’t think we were going to play for seventh place, we always thought of a better position, fourth or fifth. Every match is different, but if we would have played like today we could have move forward in our results”.

Jorge Mena, head coach of Nicaragua explained “we would have liked a better performance, I didn’t come with my starting players, only two middles and the setter are here. We needed to by the airplane tickets six months before and we are on vacation from January to April. But this has been a great and nice experience, playing against teams like Cuba and Canada is a privilege and my athletes are leaving with another mentality. This helps us to defend our U21 Central American title next week”.

Ángelo Guadamuz, 16-year-old middle blocker, said “it has been a great experience for us, most of us are under 19 years old, and for some it was their international debut in a national team at a Pan American level. This is another game level, it’s different from Central America and you learn a lot in performing”.

USA won berth to Worlds over Cuba and will play for U21 Pan Am Cup gold

HAVANA, Cuba, October 7, 2022.- United States defeated Cuba in the second semifinal also extended to five sets, with the qualification to the 2023 World Championship, and will face Mexico this Saturday for the Men’s U21 Pan American title, supported by the fans at Ciudad Deportiva.

Just like it happened in the challenge before won by Mexico to Canada, team USA dominated the first two sets (25-21 y 25-14), but the hosts reacted supported by the crowd and took the following (20-25 y 24-26) to even the scores of the exciting contest, nevertheless the visitors controlled their emotions better, committed less errors and deserved the win 15-12.

Five players scored double figures, led by Zachary Rama with 16 points and followed by outside hitter Noah Roberts, opposite Shane Wetzel, and middles Nyerovwome Omene and Marc Smith, all with 11 points.

Cuban outside hitter Bryan Camino led all scorers with 24 tallies, joined by opposite Alejandro Miguel González who added 16, they were the only ones with double digits.

The Americans led in blocks (15-8) and serves (8-6) and committed fewer errors (33-37), while the hosts scored two kills more (51-49).

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United States celebrates qualifying to the 2023 World Championship

Andy Read, head coach of United States said “two good teams faced each other in a five-set battle. In the first two we played very well, they did it better the next two, but in the end we won. Qualifying to Worlds means a lot to these athletes that couldn’t play it last year because of covid-19. The crowd elevated the game level and the players responded to that. I loved the atmosphere of the Hall. Tomorrow we will go out to give our all, I hope we come out good”.

Captain Andrew Rowan gladly said “it was a great match, and the crowd was marvelous, I couldn’t feel better. Cuba is a physical team, they blocked and attacked big. My team is great, I love them and qualifying to Worlds is incredible, it will be a process, but it’s incredible”.

Jesús Cruz, head coach of Cuba, said “we started with many deficiencies and the United States took advantage of it, they won the first two, but despite the number of errors in serves we turned the match around and we evened the score fighting strong. In the end the number of games we lack to balance at difficult moments weighs, our opponent supported the pressure better than us, in their technical performance you can see they are players in better shape. We came out to battle, we were close, now tomorrow we must fight for bronze”.

Setter Jonathan Mc Kentochi said “we began with many deficiencies, but we recovered in the third set and in the tie-break, anyone could have won or lose, United States did it better, but we have no doubts nor with a bad flavor that we didn’t put up a fight to win. Our fans supported us all the time, even if we were behind, they never gave up, they lifted us, that’s a good crowd, we immensely appreciate it. Tomorrow we are going for bronze against Canada”.

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”.

Chile beat Nicaragua and is going for fifth place at U21 Pan Am Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 7, 2022.- Chile beat Nicaragua 3-1 (21-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-18) and will on Saturday will play for fifth place against Dominican Republic who beat Haiti 3-0, also on the penultimate day of the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup at Ciudad Deportiva.

After losing the first set, the South Americans adjusted their actions to succeed with advantages in attacks (49-36), blocks (9-5) and serves (8-4), and committing one more unforced error (30-29).

Its best men at the offense were opposite hitter Antar Derpich (16), leading scorer in the match, and outside hitters Rafael Fuentes (14) and Leonardo Menéndez (12). For the Central Americans, with double figures was opposite hitter Víctor Ariel Cruz (13) and outside hitter Denis Espinoza (11). 

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HORACIO GUTIERREZ (4CHI) from Chile setting

Iván Villarreal, head coach of Chile said “it’s always good to win under any circumstance, what’s ideal is to play well, win 3-0 and make it all a whole, but the game is very stable and emotional. These boys played yesterday two matches against two top teams Canada and Cuba, and that hurts a lot physically and mentally”.

“Today we faced an opponent who apparently could have been adorable, but they gave us a hard time in the beginning in our stability and lack of focus in a performance that needs to be more stable, and that is what we are looking for in these tournaments, give support to our players for their development and solid play”.

Captain Rafael Fuentes argued that “we had a rough time to start, I think it’s something that can happen, nevertheless we pulled the four sets. Our energy was low at the beginning, and we helped the opponent grow, but this game is over, we reached our goal of winning and now we need to think in tomorrow’s match against Dominican Republic”.

Jorge Mena, head coach of Nicaragua, considered “our problem has been our height, and in the tournament the serves. Every time our opponents serve, they put us in trouble, they aren’t used to this kind of serves and the height of the players damages us. The first set was interesting. We lost, but we still are in the battle, we face Haiti once again and despite they won in pool-play, we are going to fight for not finishing last”.

Outside hitter Denis Espinoza said “it was a very difficult match, but it will help us a lot to grow as players and in the court with a good attitude and learn to follow our coach. It damaged us so much that our reception failed, and we couldn’t close well with attacks”.  

Dominicans won over Haiti to play for fifth place at U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 7, 2022.- Dominican Republic won over Haiti in straight sets (25-23, 25-23, 25-19) to play for the fifth place of the Men’s U21 Pan American Cub on Saturday at Ciudad Deportiva in the country’s capital.

Dominican Republic sealed the serene match in 1 hour and 22 minutes, avoiding that their opponents’ fast actions could put things difficult and concluded with advantages in attacks (43-38) and blocks (12-3), both teams with serves (2-2) and committing more errors (22-18).

Outside hitter Ronny Molina stood out once again, leading all scorers with 22 points, followed by teammate opposite hitter Elixander Gómez who scored 15. For Haiti, their opposite hitter Estakend Beauvoir also stood out with 21 tallies, the only one with double figures.

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JUANDEL MESA (5DOM) from Dominican Republic receiving

José Dante Manon, Dominican head coach commented “Haitian boys have a lot of strength and jump a lot, but they are short, so we played high balls from the sides with my players using their height and they attacked over the block, and it worked out. Now we must prepare for tomorrows’ match against the winner between Nicaragua and Chile, for fifth place”.

Setter Fernelis Ramírez said “today we played more focused, we improved everything we think we have going wrong, like our blocking and we tried to press in that skill and reception, and balls that weren’t right we tried to improve them, we were paying more attention the entire match”.

Junior Siecle, head coach of Haiti, was sad for their setback “we know the Dominican team and I think we could have won; we are sad because we almost had the match in our hands, I feel disappointed. We have one match left, against Nicaragua or Chile, who ever we face we will battle strong to not finish last in the tournament”.

Captain Dieulengy Relis said “we feel disappointed because the match was practically in our hand, and winning was the possibility of playing for the fifth place, but we committed too many errors. Nevertheless, tomorrow we will battle for victory, we don’t want to be the last ones”.

Cuba defeats Chile to complete the semifinalists at the U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 6, 2022.- Cuba topped Chile in straight sets 25-18, 25-15 and 25-19 to complete the semifinalists of the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum, where the fans have been enjoying this generation of players.

The numbers show the hosts superiority with advantages in attacks (33-24), blocks (12-5) and serves (8-6). They committed less errors (17-22).

The Cuban offense was balanced among three men scoring double digits, they were opposite hitter Alejandro Miguel González (12), outside hitter Bryan Camino (11) and middle blocker Jakdiel Contreras (10).

The only player on the South American side with double figures was opposite Antar Derpich with 10 points.

Cuban BRYAN CAMINO (4CUB) float the ball

Jesús Cruz, head coach of Cuba said “after the loss against Canada we got together because this match was of great importance, and we came out with conviction. The boys were looser, further from the opponents’ level, and I gave everyone participation, I want them ready for tomorrow. United States, like Canada, no matter which generation, always bring good teams, they have an immense population to chose from, they play a lot in college and have a great level. We must only trust in our preparation and give our all on the court tomorrow”.

Tall player Jakdiel Contreras opinion “it was such a difficult game, but it was very important because it was decisive to reach the semifinal. Today we committed several errors, tomorrow we must play better. We are super happy because this victory was crucial”.

Iván Villarreal, head coach of Chile was sure to say “we faced a great opponent, for a moment we were able to perform, and we controlled them with blocking, occasions in which I believe we had more order during the game. Cuba has the virtue to keep you stressed with a high serve, you tie the score, and they score on three serves in a row, they score two or three points, and they keep a favorable distance from them. We faced a great team and I really hope they qualify for Worlds”.

Outside hitter Josué Ruiz, recognized that “Cuba is a powerful opponent, we could have given some more, I think it wasn’t our day, we came from losing to Mexico, whom against we also didn’t give much. Cuba has a good team y they deserved to win. We will continue to work to go further”.

Friday’s semifinals will be between Canada-Mexico and United States-Cuba. Classification matches for positions five to eight will be held previously. 

Mexico, third semifinalist, after beating Haiti at U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 6, 2022.- Mexico defeated Haiti 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 25-17) and became the third team to qualify to Friday’s semifinals at the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup at Ciudad Deportiva.

The Mexican team was able to control a resilient Caribbean squad, even more so after a close first set, and showed superiority with advantage of 45-31 in attacks, 6-4 in blocks and 5-0 in serves, but committing four more errors (24-20).

Mexican opposite hitter Ángel Iván Domínguez led all scorers with 17 points, while his teammate outside hitter Leonardo Maldonado added 13.

For Haiti, with double figures was outside hitter Dieulengy (12) and opposite Estakend Beauvoir (10).

Mexico celebrates beating Haiti to reach the semifinals

Jorge Alberto Romero, head coach of Mexico said “we are glad because we reached the quarter finals victorious, with one match lost but with a good performance, we are aware that all the teams here are looking for the qualification, there was no weak team. Hati is a warrior, the battle every point, we don’t know how they do it, but they give there all and they are team that makes a match difficult”.

“It was a useful match, the players didn’t lose hope, they were focused with order in blocking and defense for everything come out well and thank God we are in the semifinals”.

Captain Jorge Ibarra expressed “we are very happy, it’s something we’ve been working on for a long time, our goal as a team is to reach the podium. We worked together and we studied our opponent, and we executed what we were instructed to do. We maintained calm, we didn’t lose our head to go one point at a time. There are moments of pressure when you don’t know how to act and you get lost, and that is when the opponent come on top”.

Junior Siecle, head coach of Haiti explained “the entire match was close, but my team is very young, a new experience competing at Norceca tournaments. They also need a psychological preparation to reach their goals. We are still in the fight, we know that now it’s harder, but we are up for the fight”.

Captain Relis, was afflicted “we had hopes, we had a good first set, but we let it escape, we lost it and that was a little disappointing, and our team’s performance dropped, but we will continue to battle”.

USA dominates Chile and advances to U21 Pan Am Cup semifinals

LA HABANA, Cuba, October 6, 2022.- Untied States dominated Chile in straight sets (25-18, 25-23, 25-17), to win pool A undefeated and advancing into Friday’s semifinal round at the Men’s u21 Pan American Cup at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.

The North Americans once again performed orderly with great level in attacks, overcoming the South Americans 37-27 in kills, as well as effectivity in serves (10-4), while in blocking the U.S. was outnumbered (4-6), but committed fewer errors (21-24).

Leading scorers were from the winning team, outside hitter Zachary Rama (13) and opposite Shane Wetzel (12), while from Chile the only player with double figures was opposite Antar Derpich, who accumulated 10 points.

The United States finished the preliminary round with 3-0 record and 13 points, followed by Mexico (2-1), 10, Chile (1-2), 6 and Dominican Republic (0-3), 1.  

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Chilean HORACIO GUTIERREZ (4CHI) and American NYEROVWIME OMENE (16USA) fight the ball

 Andy Read, head coach of United States said “this was an important match to win our pool and advance directly to semifinals. We will rest today, which is crucial, we will probably face Cuba on their court, so it will be a very good match”.

Shane Wetzel expressed “we played well, we did everything to win. Technical aspects in serving, blocking, and passing, I believe turned out well. Everything here is incredible; the event and I love Cuba and its surroundings. It’s my first time here”.

Iván Villarreal, head coach of Chile considered “United States is a steady team, they keep their serves, they played it well and harmed us, we have deficiencies in reception. They were consistent and we had too many ups and downs, it means move the game more, we will be careful in rearranging our group, evaluate players, who has projection and who doesn’t. Against Cuba in quarterfinals, we will different face”.

Middle blocker Martin Collao commented “it was an intense battle, and they went on learning how to control the game. The took seized the court and overpowered us, they are very disciplined in blocking, attacking, in the end, we miss what they have”.

Haiti took Nicaragua by surprise at U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 5, 2022.- Haiti took Nicaragua by surprised beating them in four sets (18-25, 25-9, 26-24, 25-21) finishing pool-play with one win and two losses in pool B of the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup.

The Caribbean team never stopped pressing in offense and shut down their opponents to finish with advantages in attacks (54-37) and blocks (10-1) and were outnumbered in serves (2-8) committing mor unforced errors (33-28) than the Central American team, who ended pool-play with three losses, in same number of outings.

Opposite hitter Estakend Beauvoi was productive in scoring 26 points, leading scorer of his team and of the match, while outside hitter Dieulengy Relis contributed to the winning team with 19 tallies. For the opponents, scoring double digits was opposite hitter Víctor Ariel Cruz (19) and outside hitter Josué Blandon (12).     

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Hatians celebrate defeating Nicaragua

Junior Siecle, head coach of Haiti explained “we prepared physically and technically, supported on triple blocking and behind the short defense, taking in account our opponents’ characteristics. The rest was a lot of energy. I am happy but our goal is to finish among the top six to rise in Norceca tournaments. We know the road is hard, but we are up for it, and we will continue to battle”.

Dieulengy Relis, captain of Haiti expressed “we are happy, but this victory is based on our little preparation, nevertheless we have seen we can face teams with higher level and despite everything we haven’t given up our weapons. We will continue to see up to where we can advance”.

Jorge Mena, head coach of Nicaragua, commented “we needed to win this match, my boys were overconfident after winning the first set and from there they fell apart. They were damaged mentally and couldn’t stand up. After two good matches against Canada and Cuba losing this way, we are really surprised, but I admit Haiti’s strength is bigger, ours is not that overwhelming”.

Víctor Ariel Cruz said, “sadly we couldn’t have the result, we couldn’t give the maximum effort, our reception was weak and we weren’t determined in attacks, but from our losses we will take the positive”.

USA defeat Mexico 3-2 at U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 4, 2022.- United States needed five sets to defeat Mexico in their first challenge decided in a tie-break a the U21 Men’s Pan American Cup held at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.

Both teams with great ambitions of reaching the final to win the two tickets available for the 2023 World Championship, witnessed a nice match due to Mexico´s resistance before falling 25-13, 24-26, 25-21, 22-25 and 15-12.

The northerners demonstrated effectiveness in attacks finishing with a difference of 62-42; in blocking they were more even (7-6) and topped in serves 10-5.

The leading scorer was outside hitter Zachary Rama (23), joined by opposite hitter Shane Wetzel (17) and Roberts Noah (17). Followed with double digits by middle blocker Marc Smith (11). On the opponent side outside hitter Leonardo Maldonado (18), opposite hitter Ángel Domínguez (14) and middle blocker Diego Esquivel (10).

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USA celebrates against Mexico

Andy Read, head coach of United States: “Because of covid-19 we had some time without preparation. Mexico kept their positive energy during the match, more focused and their rhythm was more stable. My athletes weren’t well before nor during the game. I saw Mexico well prepared and offered a good resistance. We have an under-19 player and several college players from Long Beach, we got together 10 to 20 days before the event”.

Captain of United States Andrew Rowan: “It was a good match against Mexico, who played very well. We had a lot of fun. We are a tall team, and we have everything to win the tournament. Our opponents were really hard to defeat in defense and every skill of the game. They did well the whole time in serves and passing”.

Jorge Alberto Romero, head coach of Mexico: “I am excited, I liked how the team responded, it’s what we want, that can commit against an opponent no matter their height. We did damage with serves, we forced them to play from the outside and that way control their attack”.

Isai Castañeda, Mexican libero: “We started too slow and disorderly, nevertheless in the second we knew how to adjust and in the next we missed some small details. In the fourth we played very well, but in the fifth we pressed until the end and couldn’t win, but the team did a good job and will improve day by day. They always bring tall men; their blocking is orderly and took advantage when we were failing”.

Mexico prevailed over Chile at U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 5, 2022.- Mexico dominated Chile 3-1 (25-13, 15-25, 26-24, 25-21) and has two victories against one loss to keep their hopes in advancing to the next round of the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup, on the third day at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.

Pool A has yet to be decided because the match between United States and Chile will take place until Thursday, which couldn’t be held on Monday due to flight delays from both teams due to this city’s weather conditions.

Mexico and Chile concluded today with similar numbers, but with advantage for the winners in a match that lasted over an hour. The differences were in attacks 45-40, blocks 9-10 and from their own errors 27-31.

Leading Mexican scorer and of the match was outside hitter Leonardo Maldonado (17), followed by middle blocker Diego Esquivel (10). For Chile, with double digits was Antar Derpich (12) and outside hitters Josué Ruiz and Rafael Fuentes, both with 10 points.

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RAMON GONZALEZ (13MEX) from Mexico attacks

Jorge Alberto Romero, Mexico’s head coach opinion “the game was going to be hard, Chile had nothing to lose, they aren’t looking to qualify for worlds, and we couldn’t take any chances, but the over confidence came when we won the first set easily, we thought the next were going to be the same and they weren’t. Chile has always been a hot team like Mexico, and it was difficult to control the same way to play like ours, nevertheless I am glad despite the complexity of the match because the boys reacted well to the instructions”.

Mexican outside hitter Ramón Eduardo González considered that “both teams are good, at the beginning it was easy, and we were too confident, they instead of giving up pressed harder, but we were able to work as a team and thanks to that we finished with the victory”.

Chilean head coach Ivan Villarreal said “we faced a completely different opponent, with level and that showed good aspects in their game. We had difficulties with their serves that on occasions we couldn’t control, but it was clear when we established our plan, we also executed it. That third set could have gone either way”.

“I esteem our capacity to manage many aspects of the game that Mexico made harder for us, standing that pressure is marvelous because we came to develop, gain experience and today we couldn’t win, but tomorrow against the United States we will have the same illusion to win, there is always a rematch”.

Cuba unbeaten at U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 4, 2022.- Cuba kept their unbeaten record in pool A after dominating Nicaragua in straight sets (25-16, 25-20, 25-15) at the closure of day two at the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup, that grants two tickets for NORCECA to the 2023 Worlds.

The host benefited from their height and held advantage over a resilient opponent with 13-1 in blocking, while the attacking margin was 32-22 and in serves 11-8.

Once again, the most experienced Cuban player, opposite hitter Alejandro Miguel Gonzalez was the leading scorer of his team and the game with 15 points, followed by outside hitter Yusniel González (10), the other player with double digits. For the opponent, Jose Blandon led with 7.

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Angel Suarez (11CUB) blocks Hernandez (NCA)

Jesús Cruz, head coach of Cuba, said “the boys were a bit looser; it was expected as the games develop. We let everyone play once again because tomorrow we must win, and we want to have them ready if necessary”.  

“Canada always brings a good team, a country that plays a lot of volleyball with quality and level, they have tall players that usually dominate every skill, it doesn’t matter the team they bring, it will always be a challenging game for both sides. And tomorrow it will be crucial to advance directly into semifinals”.

Álvaro Luis Ricardo, Cuban libero’s opinion “we can play a little better, we know our level of play. These opponents aren’t that strong, and we tend to get into their rhythm of play. But I know we can do more and tomorrow against Canada we must have a better effort, aiming for victory”.

Jorge Mena, head coach of Nicaragua, valued that “Cuba is a powerful team, strong, we congratulate them, but our arms didn’t fall, we were always there because we are here to compete, to give our best. They have a strong serve, they scored several points and that’s how we lost the second set, but we never gave up despite such a tall opponent. I congratulate my team that always battled”.

Middle blocker Rafael Hernandez, Nicaragua’s captain, said “we gave our best as always, we had some lows, then we recovered. Cuba has great height, too much for us, they are very fast and good in serves, but we fought”.

Chile triumphed over Dominican Republic in their U21 Pan American Cup debut

HAVANA, Cuba, October 4, 2022.- The Chilean team won 3-0 to Dominican Republic in their Men’s U21 Pan American Cup debut in a challenging closing battle by 25-17, 25-21 and 40-38 that lasted almost two hours.

Chile, who couldn’t play the first day due to flight delays, overcame the Caribbeans in attacks (41-40), blocks (11-7) and serves (6-4).

Four players added 14 points during the match, South Americans Rafael Fuentes and Antar Derpich, as well as Dominicans Ronny Molina and Antonio Gómez. Two other Chileans achieved double digits, Leonardo Menéndez (11) and Martin Collao (10).

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Moises Ortiz (18 DOM) and Horacio Gutierrez (4 CHI) fight for the ball

Iván Villarreal, head coach of Chile said “a debut always has complications, mostly in this base category because of how to control emotions, stress, and the fear to fail. Volleyball permanently is testing you and, on most occasions, athletes are overwhelmed emotionally”.

“The first two sets their game was pretty solid, the serves did well, and the rotation was fluid. We had an emotional crisis in the last set, but in the end, we were able to react against several set points against us and close it with an unusual score (40-38)”.

Opposite hitter Derpich described the match as very hard “we know that up against Dominican Republic, who has a smooth volleyball like ours, they always fight. It was a match from more to less, physically demanding and in this beautiful gymnasium we hop the fans enjoyed it a lot. I am glad to begin with the right foot, showing our nice volleyball and I am anxious for what the team can do”.

José Dante Manon, head coach of Dominican Republic felt sorry “in that last sed only with one reception we could have evened the match, but they paid for their inexperience, we must continue working with the boys. Our attack failed, these are elements that happen at this age that it’s not possible to keep the consistency, a level and more so when there’s no preparation for the event”.

Outside hitter Ronny Molina expressed “if we are going to lose, we’ll do it as warriors, we almost tied the game for a fifth set. We really came to give everything, but things didn’t go well like the first day, we played different. We recovered in the third and we almost won it. I hope we come with more tomorrow”.  

Canada obtained their second sin at U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, Cuba, October 4, 2022.- Team Canada obtained their second win in pool B sweeping Haiti 25-17, 25-19 and 25-14 on Tuesday at the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup, a world championship qualifier, at Ciudad Deportiva, the largest covered venue in the country.

The northern, with better height than their opponents, had no setbacks to dominate with huge advantages in attacks (39-17), blocks (11-2) and serves (5-2) their victory in one hour and 16 minutes.

Their best men in offense were outside hitter Jacob Sargent (15 points), middle blocker Cory Schoenherr (13) and opposite hitter Brendan Mills (12), the only ones with double digits, as outside hitter Antoine Seraphin was the best, finishing with eight tallies.

The college Canadian team is undefeated, while their opponent has suffered two losses. On Wednesday they face Cuba and Nicaragua respectively, to decide which team of this pool advances directly into semifinals.

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Canadian Reeve Gingera spikes against Haiti

Ben Josephson, head coach of Canada: “I am very happy to have won our second match. Last night we saw the match between Cuba and Haiti, in which the visitors were tough against the hosts, and we prepared our team for today”.

Cory Schoenherr, captain of Canada: “Honestly, we have been preparing for the match against Cuba on Wednesday, we played a friendly match here prior to the tournament. We also saw their match against Hait, team to whom we won today, and we are glad for that”.

Coaches speak before the start of the Men’s U21 Pan American Cup

HAVANA, October 2nd, 2022.- Two tickets for the FIVB U21 Men’s World Championship will be up for grabs at the age-group Pan American Cup that begins on Monday at the Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.

During the preliminary inquiries each team delegate was informed that these two spots will be granted to the best two teams of NORCECA since only Chile from the South American Confederation is participating and as per regulations, four teams of each confederation must be participating to compete for one of the spots.

In the meantime, seven out of eight coaches gave their opinion regarding their goals during this tournament. United States was not able to arrive on time due to flight delays and it was determined that their match against Chile will be played on Thursday, October 6th}

On Monday, Dominican Republic faces Mexico in group A, and in group B, Nicaraga-Canada and Cuba-Haiti.

Ben Josephson, Canada: “We worked hard, we are eager to play. We have worked and prepared to qualify for Worlds. My players are college students, but I keep an eye on them and see them play as a team in college. I think that our main opponents are Cuba and the United States. We played two days ago with the locals and won in five sets”.

Jesús Cruz, Cuba: “The preparation has been with ups and down, but we have been able to train and concentrate a group of athletes in this category, some went to the U19 World Championship, others have no competitive experience. That is why we took advantage of the friendly games against Canada and the Dominican Republic. That always helps a lot and more at these ages. Training is not the same as playing infront of a crowd, referees, at the venue and other tensions that competition brings. But we train to win, so we not only aspire to World Championship quota, but also to win the cup”.

Iván Villarreal, Chile: “The first objective of our base teams is to give them a significant amount of competition that allows us to carry them through their development so that they can be part of the main squad. This group is a mix of the under-19 who participated in the Pan American Cup in Guatemala in May and players from the under-21. Our idea is to train them and have previous events prior to attend next year’s U23 Championship. At the South American U21 we finished third, behind Brazil and Argentina (classified), and we are at the waiting room for the World Championship”.

Junior Siecle, Haití: “It is our first Norceca event in which we have participated, but the objective has not changed, they want to do a good job, have a good tournament and to fight for a place in the World Championship. We have various weapons, and they are strengthened by the preparation we have done, but since we don’t know our rivals, we have high expectations of knowing how they will develop”.

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Chile during preliminary inquiry

José Dante Manon, Dominican Republic: “We have a very young team, but I think we are ready for the qualification. We recognize that we will have strong rivals like the United States, Canada and Cuba, who has a tall and tremendously powerful team; that we were able to witness during friendly matches.  Our strength is the attack, it will be our main weapon and we are going to try to develop it and show our cheerful game”.

Jorge Alberto Romero, Mexico: “We come from a three-week preparation at the National Training Center in Mexico City, and we are going to fight for the classification, looking for one of the two Norceca’s Worlds tickets. There are players who played in the U19 World Championship in Egypt; however, it is a recently assembled young team, but with a lot of talent. With all rivals we must have push, since none of them will be weak, but I think that the United States, Canada and Cuba are the teams with most options”.

Jorge Mena, Nicaragua: “The main objective is to compete, to do the best. Also, that it serves as preparation for the U21 Central American Championship to be held in our country from the 16th to the 24th of this month. We are the current champions, but we have rivals like Guatemala and Costa Rica, and any of the three can win. This Cup helps you raise the level a little more to face them. The first time we have a fairly high team and due to its age, it can still improve. We are working to have a good team in the future that later can become the base of the senior team”.