Puerto Rico beat Dominican Republic and is still undefeated in NORCECA Men’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 15th, 2024.- Puerto Rico swept Dominican Republic and is still undefeated in NORCECA Men’s Final Four at Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico beat the Dominicans with scores 25-20, 30-28, 25-20.

Puerto Rico holds a 2-0 record in this event while Dominican Republic has one win and one loss.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico had a good start on the first set leading by three points, but Dominican Republic bounced back and tied the set 12-12. Dominican Republic committed consecutive errors and the Puerto Ricans won the set 25-20. It was a nail-biting battle on the second set, where both teams fought point by point and Puerto Rico won in extra points 30-28. Dominican Republic came focused on the third set leading by up to two points, but Puerto Rico fought back to tight the set 17-17 and trusting in their attacks where able to close the set 25-20.

Puerto Rico secured a straight-set victory and will play for first place tomorrow vs Mexico. Dominican Republic will play vs Guatemala looking for the second place.

Puerto Rico led in attacks 47-45, blocks 9-5 and serves 4-2 and committed less errors than the Dominicans 19-20.

Puerto Rico’s top scorer was opposite Klistan Lawrence with 16 points (14 attacks and 2 blocks) and outside hitter Pedro Molina with 14 points (14 attacks). For Dominican Republic the best scorer was captain and opposite Henry Tapia with 19 points (18 attacks and an ace).

Vidal Klistan Lawrence

Setter of Puerto Rico – Kevin Joel Rodríguez: We knew it was a team we had to play hard all the time. We prepared for this, and I think we had a good game together. We stayed patient and followed the game plan. At first, we failed a little, but we maintained the serves and that’s what worked for us. Now what we must do is rest, tomorrow we will watch videos, prepare, have a good practice and come focused on giving a good show to our audience.

Dominican Republic Setter – Francisco Arredondo: Puerto Rico had a better game and better distribution of the serve that hurt us, and we couldn’t close on the counterattacks, which I think was what affected us the most in being able to close the sets. We should have been more decisive and finished the points on the counterattack, we had many opportunities to score the points, but we could not finish with our attacks. We know that Guatemala gives its best in every match, but I think that if we focus and correct today’s mistakes, we can come out victorious tomorrow.

Mexico overcomes pressure from Guatemala for first win at NORCECA Men’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 15th, 2024. Mexico had to battle a motivated Guatemala to get the win in the NORCECA Men’s Final Four at Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Mexico defeated Guatemala with scores 27-25, 25-23, 25-17.

This is the first victory for Mexico (1-1) in this tournament while Guatemala records two defeats (0-2).

Mexico

Mexico started a solid 4-0 lead on the first set, but Guatemala began getting confidence point by point and tied the set 9-9. The set was tight all the way to the end but two blocks from Mexico closed the set in extra points 27-25. Mexico and Guatemala battled the second set, but errors from Guatemala gave the advantage to Mexico up to 4 points mid set (20-16).  Guatemala kept fighting and with two attacks and an ace tied set 23-23. Two errors gave the set to Mexico 25-23. Determined to finish the game in three sets, Mexico came back strong and started pressuring with their serve-attack combination which Guatemala was not able to overcome. The set ended 25-17 for Mexico.

Mexico led in kills 39-32, blocks 8-6 and serves 9-3 but also committed more errors than Guatemala, 24-21.

Best scorers for Mexico were captain and outside hitter Mauro Fuentes with 14 points (11 kills, 1 block and 2 aces) and Franky Hernández Milantony with 10 points (6 kills, 1 block and 3 aces). For Guatemala José Pérez was the top scorer with 14 points (12 kills, 1 block and ace).

Yasutaka Sanay Heredia MEX

Mexico setter – Edgar Mendoza: playing with Guatemala is always a difficult game since they have a very different game system and adapting to their game is complicated if you get carried away with their rhythm. We came from a process of changes in the players and technical team. We have been working well on the games, technical-tactical things, but we must have more confidence in ourselves. Tomorrow against Puerto Rico, they play at home, and we know they are strong but we have to come and give 100%.

Guatemala Setter – Adan Ruano: We are happy with what we are doing but it is a little frustrating to be fighting and not be able to close the sets as we would like. We are always happy to be in these type of tournaments, competing with people who are used to playing on other continents. We lacked a bit of grit to close the sets, our team has been training a little and we must finish getting together to be able to close the sets. Tomorrow we are going to go out to fight with everything like we have done since the beginning.

Puerto Rico outplays Guatemala in their debut at NORCECA Men’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 14th, 2024.- Puerto Rico outplayed Guatemala in straight sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-10) in their debut at in the NORCECA Men’s Final Four in Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Guatemala kept close in the first set 12-14 but three consecutive blocks from Puerto Rico helped  them jump to a 5-point lead (17-12). Guatemala kept pushing at the end of the set, but it was not enough, and Puerto Rico won 25-19. Puerto Rico kept their concentration and pushing with their serve-block combination in the second set to win 25-17. Guatemala’s reception suffered in the third set and Puerto Rico took advantage with their high and powerful attacks and won the set 25-10.

Pedro Molina PUR

Puerto Rico held advantages in all the elements of the game, 44 to 29 in attacks, 6-1 in blocks and11-2 in points from serves, while committing fewer errors than Guatemala (14-18).

Outside hitter Pedro Molina was the top scorer of the match with 13 points, on 7 attacks, 2 blocks and 4 aces. Outside hitter Pelegrín Vargas and Opposite Klistan Lawrence added 9 points each.

Puerto Rico

Captain and outside hitter Carlos López led the offense in Guatemala with 9 points (9 attacks) followed by opposite Andy Leonardo Blanco with 8 points.

Alberto Jamille Torres, coach of Puerto Rico: today’s game was the result of teamwork, and we achieved what we wanted, which was to test all the players, have everyone fresh and prepared for a great game tomorrow against the Dominican Republic. We are betting on our serve; we know that if our serve is good, we have a good chance of winning and creating a service-defense system.

Pedro Molina, best scorer of Puerto Rico: it was the match to start off the tournament. This is practically a new team, but a super motivated one and we did well, thank God. We are warming up for the season, we have two more competitions ahead and we are preparing for much more, this is just the beginning. All the teams that came to the Final Four are good, our team has a lot of chemistry, and we are like a family and that helps us a lot when it comes to playing. A strong game tomorrow against Dominican Republic, but we are focusing day by day, on our game and on improving each point.

Reider Lucas Mora, coach of Guatemala: A game in which Puerto Rico always led the pace. They have a fairly solid team, and we think they are the most solid team in the competition, they served very well, and it made it very difficult for us to receive. Our pace of play sometimes makes it difficult for us to close a game, and it is a bit difficult for us to face a team like Puerto Rico. Tomorrow we will go out and play like we did today, hoping that things will turn out a little better for us.

Carlos López, best scorer of Guatemala: I think we are going from better to less in the game. We knew they were going to play a tough match since Puerto Rico is a great team. I think we should concentrate a little at the end, which is what failed us when they pushed the serve. For the next game we must improve our reception and get in with greater confidence, which was what made the difference in this game. Our spirits are very good since we understand that we have nothing to lose, but a lot to win and we are going to enjoy the competition.

Dominican Republic with strong start at NORCECA Men’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 14th, 2024.- Dominican Republic is off to a good start in the NORCECA Men’s Final Four after defeating Mexico in straight sets in the opening match at the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico with scores 26-24, 25-18 and 25-13.

A very tight beginning of the match with both teams fighting point by point but Mexico started committing unforced errors and Dominican Republic won the first set in extra points 26-24. The Dominicans started putting pressure with the serve since the beginning of the second set, forcing Mexico to make substitutions in their line up looking for a momentum. The set finished in favor of Dominican Republic 25-18. In the third set Dominican Republic took an early lead by 5 points (6-1) forcing Mexico to take a time out. They had control of the whole set with good serves – block combination to win the set 25-13.

The best scorers for Dominican Republic were outside hitters Wilfredo Hernández with 19 points (16 attacks and 3 aces) and Henry López with 13 points (7 attacks, 2 blocks and 4 aces) and for Mexico outside hitter Mauro Fuentes with 13 points (11 attacks and 2 aces) and outside hitter Jorge Hernández with 9 points (9 attacks).

Wilfrido Hernandez DOM

Dominican Republic led in attacks 37-25, blocks 8-5 and serves while Mexico committed a total of 20 unforced errors against 11 by Dominican Republic.

Coach of the Dominican Republic – José Gutiérrez: I think it was a good and complicated first set. The first match is always difficult for all the teams, and we had a slight lead in the middle of the first set, they tied the set, but we managed to win it and that gave the boys peace of mind and came out with confidence in the next sets. We complicated their reception with our floating and jump serves, that helped us a lot. Today we are going to enjoy this victory a little and then we are going to evaluate and create the tactics that we will use tomorrow against Puerto Rico.

Captain of the Dominican Republic – Henry Tapia: A very good game. We did a good job, and we hope to do better tomorrow. Today was a very important victory for us because it is a Final Four in which we must immediately execute and win. We had consistency in serving, attacking and receiving, which were the elements that led us to victory and tomorrow we will go all out against Puerto Rico.

Dominican Republic

Mexico Coach – Carlos Schwanke: It’s my first match with the Mexican team and we don’t have much to discuss with just a month of work. I must congratulate the Dominican team that played a good game. We must keep working and continue training and acquire aggressiveness. We must attack a little more and to play better. It is our first match, and we must continue playing to be more aggressive and improve in attacks.

Captain of Mexico – Luis Sánchez: I think it was a match where we started slow and that was reflected when closing the sets; we cannot give ourselves the opportunity to start this way because the start of the sets in this match was very important. We struggled a lot in the reception since the Dominican Republic began to press a lot on the service line and it was something that we did not know how to adjust. We must get back to our game and concentrate. Leave what happened today in the past and work on the next game to get into the rhythm and go all out against Puerto Rico.

Cuba will face United States in U21 NORCECA Semifinals

Nogales, Mexico, June 14, 2024. – Cuba will face the United States in Saturday’s semifinals of the Men’s U21 NORCECA Continental Championship, being played in Nogales, Mexico.

Cuba advanced to the semifinals after defeating Suriname in straight sets 25-18, 25-22, and 25-22 in their quarterfinal match. Suriname will compete for positions 5-8.

Cuba dominated all match statistics, leading with 43-31 in attacks, 9-4 in blocks, and 4-2 in aces. Suriname committed 19 errors compared to Cuba’s 25.

Wilfrido Hernandez DOM

The leading scorer of the match was Cuba’s opposite hitter Daniel Martínez, who stands at 2.15 meters tall, capitalizing on 13 attack points, 2 blocks, and 4 aces for a total of 19 points. Kelly Oviedo also reached double figures, contributing 11 attack points.

Once again, Mesón Anakaba led Suriname’s scoring with 9 points from kills.

Suriname took an early lead in all three sets. In the first set, with the score tied at 7, two serves by Martínez and two attack points by Larrea and Morejón allowed Cuba to pull ahead. In the second set, Suriname reached a four-point advantage on kills from Ritfeld and Lee A Leong, but after the second technical timeout, Cuba never trailed. In the third set, the teams were tied at 21 points, but two errors from Suriname gave Cuba the necessary push, ending with the win on a kill point by Martínez.

Dominican Republic

Daniel Martínez, Cuba’s top scorer, said, “The team played to Suriname’s level, but we won with strength. We trust  our game despite some players lacking court time; there are those who haven’t had international competitions, and those of us with experience are supporting them. Everyone had the chance to play today to be better prepared for tomorrow and come out stronger against the United States”.

Middle blocker Jahmit Jambo or Suriname said, “Today we played slow, we weren’t at our full potential, and we needed to pass the ball better. They were tall and it was hard. We made a lot of mistakes in blocking, we could have done better”.

Coaches with high expectations of NORCECA Men’s Final Four Competition

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 13th, 2024.- Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico is ready to host the 2024 NORCECA Men’s Final Four this weekend and coaches came with high expectations to kick off the 2024 season.

Coach of Dominican Republic – José Gutiérrez: We came with the goal of competing and giving the best possible show knowing that we are incomplete, but the commitment of the players who are here is to give their best. Our players are a base of four veterans plus athletes from our under-23 team that are making the transition to the senior team. Our biggest rivals in this tournament are current champs Mexico and Puerto Rico since our level is equal to theirs. It is a tournament that will be defined by whoever does the best and makes less mistakes.

Dominican Republic

Coach of Puerto Rico – Alberto Jamille Torres: Very excited to play in Puerto Rico and my expectations are quite high. It is the first time we have brought together the entire group, including athletes who play in Europe and programs in the United States. We have been making changes in the past few years and we have a young team mixed with some experienced players. The goal is to win, representing our flag in our country is something great and we are going to give everything to win the championship.

Puerto Rico

Coach of Mexico – Carlos Eduardo Schwanke: First of all, I am happy to be here with Mexico, it is the first time that I am in charge of this team, and I have very high expectations of the level that we are going to show in this championship, and we hope to perform better than we did previously. I’m getting to know my players now, we’ve only been training together for a month and although we have some athletes with injuries, we are here with our best team and we hope they understand the new game system and feel comfortable on the court, improving every moment.

Mexico

Coach of Guatemala – Reider Lucas Mora: We have only three weeks working with this group, but we believe that we can compete well in this first international commitment. I think the boys are going to play and have a good result in this competition. We have a team in which we have included youth athletes who we believe can help a lot with the strength of the group. This year we have Central American and international events, and we hope that this event will also serve as preparation for us.

Guatemala

The NORCECA Men’s Final Four will award FIVB World Ranking Points for Volleyball Nations League.

It’s turn for the 2024 NORCECA Men’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 11, 2024.- Action continues from Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico, with the 2024 NORCECA Men’s Final Four that runs from June 14-16.

The three-day round robin competition features hosts Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Guatemala.

Mexico won the past edition of the event qualifying to the last edition of the Volleyball Men Challenger Cup (VCC) to take place in Linyi, China from July 4-7.

The FIVB Volleyball Nations League will expand to 18 teams in 2025, therefore no team will be relegated at the end of the VNL 2024 season, while the winners of the 2024 Volleyball Challenger Cup and the highest-placed teams in the FIVB Men’s and Women’s Volleyball World Ranking not yet qualified will join the VNL 2025 action.

As of the 2025 edition, the core and challenger team statuses will be abolished and the bottom-placed team in the competition’s final standings in each gender will be relegated, to be replaced by the respective highest-ranked team in the world for the following VNL season.

Consequently, the 2024 NORCECA Men’s Final Four will grant FIVB World Ranking Points to the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Competition Schedule:

June 14

18:00    Mexico vs Dominican Republic

20:00    Puerto Rico vs Guatemala

June 15

18:00    Guatemala vs Mexico

20:00    Dominican Republic vs Puerto Rico

June 16

18:00    Dominican Republic vs Guatemala

20:00    Puerto Rico vs Mexico

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