Tread Rosenthal earns MVP award at NORCECA U19 Pan American Cup

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 18, 2023.- Tread Rosenthal team captain of the United States earned the Most Valuable Player MVP Award on Saturday after his team won back to back at the NORCECA Boys U19 Pan American Cup title in Guatemala.

Tread Rosenthal received the MVP recognition during the closing ceremony at the Guatemala City Dome. Tread also won the individual award for the Best Setter in the tournament.

Also from team USA, outside hitter Sean Kelley was the First Best Spiker, middle blocker Joshua Aruya the Second Best Blocker and libero Kallen Larson the Best Receiver.

Individual Awards NORCECA Boys U19 Pan American Cup

From Nicaragua, libero Osmar Peralta was named the Best Libero and Best Digger of the event, and Angelo Guadamuz the award of First Best Blocker.

The award of Second Best Spiker was handed to outside hitter Franco Roark of Puerto Rico.

Costa Ricans Yulius Brown and Stanley Grant received the Best Opposite and Best Scorer awards respectively.

Team captain of Guatemala Adolfo Rivas was granted the recognition of Best Server.

United States wins back to back NORCECA Boys U19 Pan American title

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 18, 2023.- United States beat Mexico 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-20) to win back to back Boys U19 Pan American title on Saturday in Guatemala City.

United States won their second gold medal in a row undefeated (5-0) against Mexico just like last year; in 2011 they won a bronze medal also over Mexico. This is Mexico’s third silver medal in a row and in 2017 they beat Chile for the gold; Mexico ended the event 4-2.

The U.S. held a 47-33 advantage in attacks and a huge 10-4 margin in blocks; both teams scored two points from serves. United States committed 16 unforced errors against 26 from Mexico.

Sean Kelly (USA) top scorer

Outside hitter Sean Kelly of United States scored a match-high of 16 points on 14 kills and two blocks. Outside hitter Sterling Foley added 12 points on 9 kills, two blocks and one ace, followed by opposite hitter Finn Kearney collecting 11 points on 10 kills and one ace.

Outside hitter Ines Vargas and opposite hitter Julio Serrano topped Mexico’s scores with 12 points each.

Matthew Fuerbringer (USA) head coach

Sean Kelly, top scorer of United States: “I feel amazing being back here in Guatemala, there’s a lot of fans supporting us, it’s awesome to play with the team again and we felt so connected. We could have been better, but a win is a win. I believe our serving and blocking can still improve”.

Matthew Fuerbringer, head coach of United States: “I expected a battle. The change the coach made by putting Vargas (#7) as opposite was really good for his team, gave them a lot of options in offense, they have a great setter with good ball control; they’re such a tough team and they don’t make mistakes and they battled. I am really proud of my boys, there were a lot of tough moments being close and it got intense, they could’ve hesitated but instead they went harder and made the plays that mattered”.

Oscar Viña, head coach of Mexico: “My team battled and battled, but there was a moment when they couldn’t give more, mostly when we reached point 22 in the first two sets they lost energy and in the third at point 18 they couldn’t give more. This happens when you face a powerful team like the United States, we need more elements on the team”.

Puerto Rico battles five sets to win the Bronze Medal

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 18, 2023.- Puerto Rico battled five sets against Costa Rica 3-2 (24-26, 25-22, 18-25, 25-22, 15-12) to win the bronze medal of the NORCECA Boys U19 Pan American Cup on Saturday in Guatemala.

After the five grueling sets, Puerto Rico celebrated their second consecutive bronze medal, third bronze medal in the history of the event. They also won a silver medal in 2011. For Costa Rica, this is the first time a Central American team plays for a place in the podium.

Puerto Rico bounced back from a nail-biting first set loss only to keep on battling strong to stop Costa Rica who performed formidably.

Puerto Rico came out on top with a 69-52 advantage in kills and a 5-1 margin in aces; Costa Rica held a slim 10-9 margin in blocks. Puerto Rico committed a sizeable amount of 44 unforced errors against 24 from Costa Rica.

Ricardo Ortiz of Puerto Rico digs

Outside hitter Victor Torres led Puerto Rico with 22 points on 19 kills and three blocks, accompanied by outside hitter Franco Roark who produced 17 points on 16 kills and one ace, while team captain Ramon Rosado added 13 points on 11 kills, one block and one ace.

Costa Rican opposite hitter Yulius Brown scored a match-high of 24 points on 22 kills and two blocks. Also contributing to Costa Rica’s campaign was outside hitter Stanley Grant with 16 points on 15 kills and one block, followed by Julian Araya who tallied 12 points.

Yulius Brown (CRC) spikes, Dylan Velazquez (PUR) blocks

Ramón Rosado, captain of Puerto Rico: “Costa Rica deserves the credit, in my opinion they are the team that has improved the most in this tournament, even from last year. I am glad about the boys’ performance who in moments of pressure responded and did a great effort”.  

Carlos De Sevilla, head coach of Puerto Rico: “Costa Rica gave a great performance. We started too slow and things weren’t working out, we had too many attacking errors. We enjoyed it and our intentions were to play the final, but we are taking a medal to the island. We battled up to the last point”.

David Córdoba, captain of Costa Rica: “We had a good presentation, we couldn’t win. We gave a good match to all of Costa Rica and this beautiful crowd supported us the whole game. We’ve had great improvement from last year and we hope someday to win a medal at this type of event.

Guatemala takes fifth place over Nicaragua

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 18, 2023.- Hosts Guatemala took fifth place over Nicaragua 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-22) at the NORCECA Boys U19 Pan American Cup on Saturday.

Guatemala ends with a 4-2 record in fifth place and Nicaragua 2-4 in sixth. This was the second time Guatemala beat Nicaragua in the tournament.

Despite the straight set win, it was a close win for Guatemala who recovered from a three-point deficit (21-24) stealing from Nicaragua’s hands the first set.

Guatemala held a 39-33 advantage in attacks and a 2-0 margin in aces. Nicaragua prevailed in blocks by a huge 15-6 margin. Guatemala scored on 29 Nicaraguan errors and handed out 19.

Outside hitter Pedro Villatora led Guatemala with 12 points on 11 kills and one block, middle blocker Sergio Paz and outside hitter Roberto Recinos chipped in with 9 and 8 points respectively.

Middle blocker Angelo Guadamuz was Nicaragua’s top scorer with 12 points on 7 kills and 4 blocks, followed by outside hitter Evans Solís and middle blocker Wesly Rugama with 9 points each.

Luis Mendizabal (GUA) attacks

Luis Fernando Castañeda, head coach of Guatemala: “We were expecting Nicaragua to fight because we had already beaten them in the tournament. It was a match with too many errors from both teams, but we switched our middle in the first set when we were losing and that headed us into the win. The boys did a great job despite the limitations in preparation”.

Jorge Mena, head coach of Nicaragua: “A team that doesn’t practice doesn’t win. We committed too many errors, in the first set we failed 9 serves, in the second set 7 and not being able to win the first set damaged us. We aren’t finishing last, but this is a learning experience because the boy’s physical condition couldn’t respond”.

Belize finishes 7th place after defeating Suriname in straight sets

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 18, 2023.- Belize finished seventh place at the NORCECA U19 Pan American Cup after defeating Suriname 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-18) on Saturday in Guatemala.

Belize finished the tournament with a 1-4 win-loss record and Suriname 0-5.

Belize prevailed over Suriname in every skill, attacks (36-25), blocks (6-4) and serves (9-2). Suriname committed fewer errors than Belize (24-28).

Outside hitters Preston Smith and Eleazar Mejía led Belize, Smith with 15 points on 14 kills and one block, Mejía with 14 points all from kills.

Suriname’s opposite hitter Meson Anakaba scored 14 points on 12 kills, one block and one ace as their leading scorer.

Daunte Gill (BLZ) defense

Albert Humes, head coach of Belize: “This win is very good for our country and by 3-0 it’s even better. Sadly we couldn’t put this type of playing in yesterday’s game but we are satisfied. I would like to thank NORCECA for the invitation and give us this type of exposure, making it a learning experience for our team so we can go back home and get ready for the Central American Championship Belize will be hosting this year, that will be a good boost for our people to come out and support our men’s program”.

All Female Referees officiate NORCECA Boys U19 Pan Am Cup matches

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 17, 2023.- Female referees were appointed as first referee of all the matches during the penultimate day of competition at the NORCECA Boys U19 Pan American Cup in Guatemala.

As part of the initiative of gender refereeing equality of the NORCECA Volleyball Confederation, Cristóbal Marte Hoofiz NORCECA president alongside Referee Coach of the event Professor José Luis Jiménez Lao, appointed the four female international referees of the event as First referee in Saturday’s matches as follows:

-Walda Maldonado of Guatemala, semifinal match United States vs Costa Rica

-Cinthya Hernández of Costa Rica, semifinal match Puerto Rico vs Mexico

-María Alejandra Izquierdo of Nicaragua, classification match 5-8 Belize vs Guatemala

-Yeimy Hernández of Dominican Republic, classification match 5-8 Suriname vs Nicaragua

This is complying with one of the decisions taken during a webinar organized by the NORCECA Referee Commission in commemoration of Women’s International Day that seeks for more opportunities for growth and development of female international referees in the region.

United States with perfect record makes it into Gold medal match

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 17, 2023.- The United States will play in the NORCECA U19 Pan Am Cup gold medal match with a perfect record after defeating Costa Rica 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-15) in Friday’s semifinal in Guatemala.

United States will battle Mexico in the final for the second time in a row. The U.S. beat Mexico in last year’s title match here in Guatemala. Costa Rica and Puerto Rico will play in the bronze medal match.

United States was  successful with a 45-20 margin in attacks, 8-2 in blocks and 6-0 in serves, but they handed out 31 points from unforced errors while Costa Rica only allowed 16. This was the second occasion in the tournament that the U.S. beat Costa Rica.

Outside hitter Sterling Foley of USA led all scorers with 15 points on 14 kills and one block, joined by opposite hitter Finn Kearney with 11 points on 9 kills and two blocks.

Opposite hitter Yulius Brown of Costa Rica scored 11 points all on kills.

Sterling Foley (USA) attacks against Costa Rica

Tread Rosenthal, captain of United States: “We’ve played great the whole tournament and it feels great to be in the final match. Our team chemistry is great even with the limited time we have together. Mexico will bring a lot of energy tomorrow, but hopefully we’ll take care of them doing a good job”.

Yulius Brown, top scorer of Costa Rica: “Against such a powerful team like the USA I believe we did well in attacks, we failed some serves but we made our best effort. We are coming out strong for the bronze against Puerto Rico who had a different path than ours”.

Mexico outclass Puerto Rico in semis to reach their second consecutive U19 Pan Am Cup finals

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 17, 2023.- Mexico outclassed Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 31-29) in semifinals to reach their second consecutive NORCECA U19 Pan American Cup finals in Guatemala.

Mexico managed to advance in the finals with a straight set win after a highly contested and exciting third set. Puerto Rico took on a one-one battle at the end, their effort wasn’t enough to extend the actions further.

Mexico also beat Puerto Rico in last year’s U19 Pan Am Cup semifinals here in Guatemala but in five sets.

Mexico finished with a 54-41 advantage in attacks, a 3-1 margin in aces and committed fewer errors (19-21). Puerto Rico held a slim 4-3 margin in blocks.

Outside hitter Ines Vargas scored an impressive 28 points (26 kills, one block, one ace) in Mexico’s victory, while Brandon Ramirez contributed with 18 points (16 kills, one block, one ace).

Team captain Ramon Rosado led Puerto Rico’s offense with 12 points all on kills.

Karol Murillo (MEX) celebrates

José Adame, captain of Mexico: “This was our goal, to play the final match. We were overconfident in the third set because the score was too low in the second and Puerto Rico took a good advantage, in the first two sets they were silent but in the third they had more energy”.

Oscar Viña, head coach of Mexico: “It was a dramatic finish, but a strong win because it was only in three sets. The third set was close and from the start I told the boys not to relax because we still hadn’t won, Puerto Rico almost won the set and who knows what would’ve happened. I am glad to reach the final once again”.

Hosts Guatemala downs Belize to battle Nicaragua for fifth place

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 17, 2023.- Hosts Guatemala downed Belize 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-17) to battle against Nicaragua for fifth place of the NORCECA Boys U19 Pan American Cup.

Guatemala recovered from a four-point deficit (10-14) to start the first set and move on to control Belize the following sets. On the last day of the event, Guatemala plays against Nicaragua for fifth place and Belize faces Suriname for position seven.

The hosts held a 31-26 margin in attacks and Belize 6-4 in the blocking category; both teams scored one ace. Guatemala scored on 39 Belizean errors and handed out 23.

Guatemala’s best attacker was middle blocker Sergio Paz with 14 points from 13 kills and one block.

Outside hitter Eleazar Mejia led Belize with a match-high of 19 points on 18 kills and one block.

Sergio Paz (GUA) attacks

Sergio Paz, top scorer of Guatemala: “We got in cold; we had trouble to gain energy and passion which we are known for, little by little we did it and that helped us. Volleyball is a sport where energy is a crucial factor, even more than skills. We are sore and tired, but we will close with our all”.

Daunte Gill, libero of Belize: “We tried our best, we could have done better in our execution and for next time we will come stronger than ever. For tomorrow we will try to focus, keep our head high and see what it brings”.

Nicaragua beats Suriname in five sets to play for fifth place

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 17, 2023.- Nicaragua beat Suriname 3-2 (28-26, 20-25, 25-18, 19-25, 15-7) to play for fifth place at the NORCECA U19 Boys Pan American Cup in Guatemala City.

Nicaragua will play for fifth place against the winner between Guatemala and Belize; Suriname for seventh place.

It was a party of points in the first set, won by Nicaragua where Suriname lost three set points (24-22), which set the rhythm for the continuing sets. Suriname held a huge advantage in the fourth set only to fall in the tie-break.

The Central Americans held advantages in attacks (58-53) and aces (3-2), Suriname was better in blocking 10-8. In errors, Nicaragua finished with 36 and Suriname with 38.

Opposite hitter Victor Bermudez led Nicaragua’s scorers with 20 points on 18 kills and two aces, accompanied by middle blocker Angelo Guadamez and outside hitter Evans Solis with 15 points apiece.

Suriname´s top scorer was outside hitter Anfernee Lee with 20 points on 16 kills and four points from aces, followed by outside hitter Gianni Ritfeld with 19 points on 17 kills and two blocks, while opposite hitter Meson Anakaba chipped in with 13 points on 10 kills, two blocks and one ace.

Evans Solis (NCA) attacks, Gianni Ritfeld (SUR) ready to block

Víctor Bermudez, top scorer of Nicaragua: “We had complications in receiving, lack of concentration and we were overconfident committing basic errors. We were able to win thanks to our coaches’ instructions, how to position and our energy improved”.

Jorge Mena, head coach of Nicaragua: “This tournament took us by surprise, the boys are doing a great effort, they don’t give up and we reached the goal, we won’t finish last. Some players, like number 3 (Bermudez) today was on fire, he motivated the team and I made some adjustments in the fifth for the win”.