Mexico Finish Fifth Place at NORCECA U21

NOGALES, Mexico, June 16, 2024.- Mexico defeated Suriname 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-18) on Sunday to claim fifth place in the U21 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship in Nogales, Mexico.

Mexico secured fifth place in the tournament with a 4-2 record. Suriname finished with a 2-4 record. In pool-play, Mexico also defeated Suriname in three sets.

Suriname struggled to develop their game system, failing in reception due to Mexico’s targeted serves, which ended with a 6-0 advantage for Mexico. Mexico also dominated in attacks with a 46 to 24 lead. Suriname was more effective in blocking, with a 7-3 edge, and committed one less error than Mexico (20-21).

Mexican middle blocker Daniel Craioto led all scorers in the match with 13 points. Opposite hitter Cristian Cadena added 9 points.

Suriname’s opposite hitter Mesón Anakaba dropped his performance compared to previous matches, scoring 9 points.

Mexico led in all sets, but in the closing of the second set, they lost seven set points (24-17) before finally winning it 25-20.

Jorge Alberto Romero, Coach of Mexico, said, “I expected Suriname to put up more of a fight. My boys started off organized. I feel that as the match went on, there was an excess of confidence from my players. We could have made it a more interesting game on our side and been more aggressive, but the inexperience of the team allowed the scores to be closer towards the end. The result of the match was positive, though not the result we were hoping for in the tournament”.

Furgil Ong-A-Fat, head coach of Suriname said  “We lost our energy level. I told them during the morning practice that they needed to play it together as a team, it our last match in this NORCECA. We are looking forward to coming to the next tournament and keeping up the pressure”.

Guatemala Defeated Nicaragua for Seventh Place in NORCECA U21

NOGALES, Mexico, June 16, 2024.- Guatemala defeated Nicaragua 3-0 (25-22, 28-26, 25-22) to claim seventh place in the  U21 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship in Nogales, Mexico.

Guatemala finished the tournament with a 1-4 record, for seventh position. Nicaragua ended in eighth place with a 0-5 record.

Guatemala topped Nicaragua in attacks (41-36) and blocks (12-9). Nicaragua held a slight advantage in serves (3-2). Guatemala committed 23 errors, while Nicaragua had 22.

Luis Mendizabal GUA

The top scorer of the match was Luis Mendizábal from Guatemala, with 20 points on 15 attacks, 4 blocks, and one service point.

Evans Solís led Nicaragua in scoring with 15 points on 13 attacks and 2 service points. Taushaun Hooker added 13 points.

NCA Solis attack GUA defense Samayoa and Mendizabal

Luis Fernando Castañeda, Coach of Guatemala, said, “The team consists of young players who are still developing. We knew we were entering a tough competition. We started strong against Cuba and then gave Canada a good fight, but the inexperience of some of our players started to show. We brought athletes from a lower age category. Today, Luis Mendizábal, who is U17, had a great tournament and has a lot of potential. We earned the victory today. We thought we could have finished in a higher position, but we will keep working hard”.

Jorge Mena, Coach of Nicaragua, said, “There are players who don’t play as a team; there is too much individuality. I think we missed the opportunity to extend the match in the second set with just a small touch. We need to keep improving and set aside individual play. It was a challenge to beat Guatemala; we defeated them in Cuba, and now they have beaten us here. We should have performed better against Guatemala. We know we were missing some players, but we didn’t expect a 3-0 result”.

United States Faces Canada for the U21 NORCECA Gold

NOGALES, Mexico, June 16, 2024.- The United States swept Cuba (25-20, 25-21, 25-16) and will face Canada on Sunday for the gold medal at the Men’s U21 NORCECA Continental Championship in Nogales, Mexico.

The U.S. has won the competition on three occasions, and this will be their sixth appearance in the championship match.

The defending champions, Cuba, have never won a bronze medal in the history of the event. They will play Puerto Rico for third place in the tournament.

United States outperformed Cuba with 40 points to 25 kills, 15 to 5 blocks, and 5 to 1 ace, but they handed out 26 points on errors compared to 15 from Cuba.  

Team captain and outside hitter Kelly Sean led the United States with a match-high of 15 points on 13 attacks and two blocks. He was joined by Cole Hartke and Sterling Foley with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Setter Tread Rosenthal scored a match-high of 5 blocks along with a match-high of 3 aces.

Daniel Martínez was Cuba’s leading scorer with 10 points on 7 attacks, 2 blocks, and one ace.

Sean Kelly USA

United States only trailed in the first set. In the second set, they quickly took a 13-8 lead, extending it to 21-11; they had difficulty closing the set after losing 5 set points (16-24) but eventually won 25-21 with a kill point from Cole Hartke. They dominated the third set without major difficulty.

John Hawks, head coach of United States said “We missed a lot of serves; if you’re thinking about missing serves, you’re going to miss serves. We just got go in tomorrow morning, we’re going to work out and talk about it a little bit, and just do a better job in managing situations; it happens, they are just young kids. We’ll do it better tomorrow night against Canada, a well coached team, they are doing a nice job, we just have to be sharp tomorrow night”.

Cuba’s head coach, Lian Sem Estrada, said, “Today, I think the boys lacked experience; there were some situations that weren’t complicated, but they didn’t know how to find the right solutions, and I believe that’s where our performance failed. We are still enthusiastic. We came with the goal of winning and earning a medal, and for this team to gain experience in pursuit of victory. My objectives remain the same; we are still in the fight.”

Canada Downs Puerto Rico in NORCECA U21 Semifinals

NOGALES, Mexico, June 15, 2024. – Canada defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 (25-12, 23-25, 25-14, 25-19) on Saturday in the Men’s U21 NORCECA Continental Championship semifinals in Nogales, Mexico.

This is the seventh time that Canada has reached the title match in the history of the U21 NORCECA event, having won the title twice. Canada will face the winner of the other semifinal between the United States and Cuba.

Puerto Rico has played in the bronze medal match seven times, winning the bronze twice.

CAN Hershtynovich attack

Canada also defeated Puerto Rico in pool-play, but in four sets.

Canada excelled in attacks (56-38), blocks (12-5), and service aces (3-2). Both teams had a similar number of errors, with Canada committing 25 and Puerto Rico 27.

Canadian opposite hitter Daniil Hershtynovich led all scorers  with 28 points (27 attacks, one  block). Outside hitter Piers De Greeff contributed 21 points (17 attacks, 2 blocks, 2 aces).

Puerto Rico defence

For Puerto Rico, Lorenzo Rivera led with 17 points, all from kills. Captain and opposite hitter Ramón Rosado scored 11 points from 10 attacks and one service ace.

Daniel Lewils, head coach of Canada said “Puerto Rico has a good skill level; they weren’t going to go away easily; we beat them 3-0 earlier so it’s always tough to face them again so we had to be super technical in our execution and very disciplined. There were some periods when we didn’t adjust properly, we weren’t technically or tactically taking something away and we didn’t, and it made things more difficult. I must prepare them mentally better to play that style of game where they shouldn’t be making errors. Tomorrow will be an easier game because whoever we play will have more height, which makes it easier to block, but we still must be tactical and be able to execute  our desired game plan”.

Puerto Rican outside hitter Diego López said, “It was a tough match. We entered with little confidence in ourselves. That changed in the second set, we’ve been working hard in practice and trust in our game. We couldn’t regain our spirit in the following sets. We must acknowledge that Canada is a tremendous team; they have one of the best programs in the world, which has taken them to the Olympics. We gave them a good fight”.

Mexico to Play for Fifth Place in NORCECA U21

NOGALES, Mexico, June 15, 2024. – Mexico will compete for the fifth place in the Men’s U21  NORCECA Continental Championship against Suriname after defeating Nicaragua in straight sets 25-17, 25-16, 25-18 on Saturday in Nogales, Mexico.

The host team, Mexico, will face Suriname on Sunday, who earlier defeated Guatemala. Nicaragua goes against Guatemala for seventh place.

Mexico dominated all statistics, leading in attacks (43-28), blocks (7-0), and service aces (5-3). Both teams committed 20 errors.

Cristian Cadena MEX

Outside hitter Samuel Valdes and opposite hitter Cristian Cadena each scored 11 points for Mexico, while Brandon Ramírez added 10 points.

For Nicaragua, middle blocker Alvaro Quesada and outside hitter Evans Solís scored 8 and 7 points, respectively.

Mexico used all their players in the match. Carlos García, who came in for the final points, scored the match-winning point with a block.

NCA Solis spikes

Carlos García, said, “It was my first time entering a game, I came in to finish the match with the instruction to block, and that’s what I did. Mexico showed great unity, and the coach’s strategy worked”.

Nicaragua’s setter, Rafael Gómez Escalante, commented, “Nicaragua always plays with the mentality of fighting to win, no matter the opponent. With each match, we keep learning and growing. We are a team with little experience; we adapt well, but we need to be more organized.”

Suriname Defeats Guatemala With 37 points of Anakaba

NOGALES, Mexico, June 15, 2024. – Meson Anakaba scored 37 points in Suriname’s win over  Guatemala 3-1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23) in a classification match for positions 5 to 8 at the Men’s U21 NORCECA Continental Championship in Nogales.

On Sunday, Suriname will compete for fifth place in the event against the winner between Nicaragua and Mexico. Guatemala will face the loser for seventh place.

Opposite hitter Mesón Anakaba scored 37 points in Suriname’s victory, the highest in the tournament so far. Anakaba tallied 32 attack points, 3 blocks, and 2 aces. Gianni Ritfeld contributed 15 points from direct attacks, and Anfernee Lee added 13 points.

Luis Mendizabal GUA

Guatemala’s Roberto Recinos finished with 21 points, including 17 attacks, 3 blocks, and one  ace. Opposite hitter Luis Mendizábal scored 15 points on 14 attacks and one service ace.

Suriname led in attack points (62-52), blocks (9-7), and service points (5-4). However, Suriname gave away more points on errors (26-21).

Suriname celebrate

Roberto Benschop, libero of Suriname said “We should have performed better. In the fourth set we were overconfident, we should have won quicker, but Guatemala got closer, with unnecessary substitutions. We need to play seriously and more consistency”.

Josué González, libero for Guatemala, said, “We lost because for moments we lacked concentration. We didn’t follow our coaches’ instructions. I congratulate Suriname on their victory. As a team, we need to play with more determination and show our game in tomorrow’s match”.

Puerto Rico Upsets Mexico to Reach the U21 NORCECA Semifinals

NOGALES, Mexico, June 14, 2024.- Puerto Rico upset Mexico 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-21, 25-22), winning the quarterfinal match to reach the semifinals of the Men’s U21  NORCECA Continental Championship in Nogales, Mexico.

Puerto Rico will face Canada in the semifinal on Saturday, in a pool-play rematch won by Canada. Mexico will compete for positions 5 to 8, starting with Nicaragua.

Puerto Rico emerged victorious with an advantage of 53 to 46 in attacks and a slight edge of 4-3 in aces. Both teams were tied at 10 in blocks. Mexico made one less error than Puerto Rico (29-30).

Diego Estrada PUR

Outside hitter Antonio Rivera scored a tournament-high  of 28 points (26 attacks, one block, one ace), in Puerto Rico’s win. Also contributing to the victory were outside hitter Diego López with 13 points (12 attacks, one block) and middle blocker Janluar Figueroa with 11 points (7 attacks, a match-high of 4 blocks).

Mexico’s outside hitter Brandon Ramírez scored 18 points (16 attacks, 2 blocks) and opposite Cristian Cadena added 11 points, all from attacks.

It was a party of points in a balanced match. All four sets were closely contested. In the first set, they were tied at 17 points, and it was the Puerto Ricans who managed to gain a crucial two-point lead (23-21) on a Mexican error and a kill from López, allowing Rivera to close it with an ace. Mexico tied by winning the second set, reaching a five-point lead (18-13) with points shared by Cadena, Cravioto, and Ramírez. Puerto Rico came back from a six-point deficit (5-11) in the fourth set thanks to the offensive efforts of Rivera, López, and Figueroa.

Ramón Rosado, captain of Puerto Rico, said, “It feels incredibly satisfying because two years ago in Guatemala, in the U19 category, this group beat us in the semifinals. We prepared very well, and I must give credit to the fans, who made it challenging for us. We came together as one to achieve this victory. I believe our reception, outside hitters, and middle blockers performed excellently, but the most crucial factors were our composure and unity to execute what the coach planned after the tough matches against Cuba and Canada”.

Jorge Romero, coach of Mexico, said, “The difference was Puerto Rico’s aggressiveness and determination, which we lacked. Every time Puerto Rico had possession of the ball, they were determined to attack. We were too hesitant.”

United States is Moving On to Semifinals

Nogales, Mexico, June 13, 2024. – The United States advanced to the semifinals of the Men’s U21 NORCECA Continental Championship by defeating Mexico 3-1 (25-13, 25-20, 22-25, 25-16) to claim first place in pool A in Nogales, Mexico.

United States finished pool-play undefeated at 3-0, moving directly into Saturday’s semifinals. Mexico, with a 2-1 record, will face Puerto Rico in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Mexico handed the United States its first set loss of the tournament.

USA Sean Kelly spikes

The Americans dominated in kills with 59 to Mexico’s 27, in blocks with 11 to 5, and in service points with 6 to 4. However, they gave away 38 points  on errors, compared to Mexico’s 21.

The leading scorer of the match was USA’s outside hitter Sterling Foley, who tallied 23 points on 19 attacks, one block, and 3 aces. Team captain outside hitter Sean Kelly, along with middle blocker Parker Tomkinson, each contributed 12 points.

Mexico’s top scorer was opposite hitter Cristian Cadena, who recorded 13 points from 11 attacks, one block, and an ace.

USA

Sterling Foley, top scorer of the United States, said, “Mexico had a good run in the set we loss, about five points and we struggled with the side-out and the flow-serve; maybe what contributed to it was the noise in here, it was really loud and came a bit lower towards the end and that gave us momentum in the fourth set. We’re ready for our next opponent in the semis, we’ll rest, scout a little bit. I think our ability to pull our side out was one of our best skills, even though we weren’t passing the best we ran a system and we put the ball in play”.

Bladimir Rivera, captain of Mexico, said, “In the set we won, we maintained our serve very well, we were also effective in finishing off free balls, and we were organized in defense and blocking. I feel that’s what we lacked in the other sets. Overall, we were disorganized, didn’t block, and made mistakes in defense, while the United States adjusted well. There’s a clear lesson to be learned, and we need to take the feedback to keep improving”.

Canada Earns a Direct Ticket to Semis over Cuba

Nogales, Mexico, June 13, 2024. – Canada earned a direct ticket in the semifinals of the Men’s U21 NORCECA Continental Championship after defeating Cuba 3-1 (17-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-21) on Thursday in Nogales, Mexico.

Canada earned its semifinal berth for Saturday as the leader of pool B with a perfect 3-0 record. Cuba finished second in the group with a 2-1 record and will face Suriname in quarterfinals on Friday.

Canadian opposite hitter Daniil Harshtynovich led all scorers with 24 points (19 attacks, 2 blocks, 3 aces). Outside hitter Piers added 20 points (16 attacks, 3 blocks, one ace), and middle blocker Cody Hudson contributed a match-high of 7 blocks.

CAN de Greeff spikes

For Cuba, opposite hitter Daniel Martínez led with 20 points, including a team-high of 5 blocks. Kelly Oviedo added 13 points (12 attacks, one ace), and Carlos Pereira scored 12 points (8 attacks, 4 blocks).

After losing the first set, Canada quickly jumped to a 5-1 lead in the second set and finished strong with two blocks by De Greef and a Cuban error. The third set was blocking spree, with Canada opening with three consecutive blocks (Fisher, Cherewaty, De Greef). In the fourth set, with the score tied at 11 points, Canada pulled away thanks to a direct attack from Boyko and two consecutive aces by Harshtynovich, maintaining their lead until the end.

CUB Daniel Martinez attack

Head coach of Canada, Deniel Lewis said “I think in the first set they had a lot of stress, and the players needed to manage those kinds of situations; but we weren’t executing as our game plan. I had to calm the team down, get them to work on the game plan and they were able to do so. Today’s best skill was mentally, they came back from losing the first set, they stayed focused to execute in different situations. I am really proud of the guys, honestly, they are a young group and they’re doing so well”.

Cuba’s captain, Ronaldo Flaquet, commented, “It was a close match; we were always near, but we couldn’t capitalize on our chances. We weren’t decisive. We stopped playing our game; it wasn’t that they were better”.

Suriname Defeats Nicaragua for a spot in Quarterfinals

Nogales, Mexico, June 13, 2024.- Suriname defeated Nicaragua 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-21) to secure a spot in the quarterfinals of the U21 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship in Nogales, Mexico.

Suriname (1-2) finished third in pool A and will face the loser between Cuba and Canada in the quarterfinals. Nicaragua (0-3) will compete in the matches for positions 5 to 8.

Suriname recovered from losing the first set to clinch the victory with a huge 17-7 advantage in blocking points. They also led in attacks 55 to 52 and aces 3 to none. Nicaragua committed one less error than Suriname (22-23).

SUR Ritfeld spikes

Gianni Ritfeld led Suriname with 19 points on 16 attacks and 3 blocks. Opposite hitter Mesón Anakaba followed with 17 points on 14 attacks, 2 blocks, and one ace. Middle blocker Jahmit Jambo scored 15 points, including a match-high of 7 powerful blocks.

Evans Solís of Nicaragua was the top scorer of the match with 26 points on 23 attacks and 3 blocks. Victor Bermudez added 13 points on 11 attacks and 2 blocks.

Suriname

The first set was closely contested. In the second, both teams took turns leading, but with effective blocking (5-1), Suriname leveled the match. Suriname then had little trouble dominating the next two sets, despite Nicaragua scoring four consecutive points (10-17) in the fourth set.

Furgil Ong-A-Fat, coach of Suriname said: “It was a good match. In the first set we gave away a few points at the last moment and we lost it. The rest of the sets I kept the pressure on my guys to continue scoring better; we played a much better game after the first set”.

Jorge Mena, coach of Nicaragua, said: “There was no winning attitude. We won the first set, and then the team fell apart. They didn’t want to receive serves, and Evans had no support from the rest of the team. There were easy balls that couldn’t be received; the team that doesn’t defend, doesn’t win”.

Puerto Rico Blocks Guatemala to move into Quarterfinals

Nogales, Mexico, June 13, 2024. – Puerto Rico used its advantage in blocking (12-4) to defeat Guatemala 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-16) and advance to the quarterfinals of the U21 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship in Nogales, Mexico.

Puerto Rico (1-2) finished third in pool B and will face the loser between United States and Mexico in the quarterfinals. Guatemala (0-3) will compete in the matches for positions 5 to 8.

In addition to their significant advantage in blocking, Puerto Rico led in attacks (38-24) and aces (4-0). Puerto Rico committed one more error than Guatemala (22-21).

Puerto Rico

With 11 points each, outside hitters Franco Roark, Sebastián Sánchez, and Lorenzo Rivera led Puerto Rico’s offense.

For Guatemala, team captain Roberto Recinos scored 8 points.

The first set was very close, but in the second, Puerto Rico quickly jumped to a 5-0 lead thanks to a service error by Guatemala, followed by a spike and two blocks from middle blocker Janluar Figueroa, shifting the momentum of the match; from then on, Puerto Rico never trailed.

Roberto Recinos GUA

Puerto Rico’s coach, Gerardo De Jesús, said: “Guatemala has improved in recent years and gave Cuba a tough match, so we came well prepared to face them today. Regardless of the opponent, this age-group is very emotional and is developing. We’ve advanced to the next round, and we look forward to the matchup either against Mexico or the United States, for which we’ll be well prepared.

Guatemala’s captain, Roberto Recinos, remarked: “We started evenly with Puerto Rico, but then we had a bad attitude on the court. We couldn’t maintain our energy throughout the match because Puerto Rico served very well, and we couldn’t handle the reception.”

Mexico with emphatic Win against Nicaragua

NOGALES, Mexico, June 12, 2024 – Mexico beat Nicaragua with an emphatic 3-0 (25-8, 25-19 y 25-21) at the Men’s U21 Continental Championship in Wednesday’s last match at Nogales, Mexico.

On Thursday, Mexico, with an unbeaten record (2-0), will compete against the United States (2-0) for the top spot in pool A, aiming for a direct ticket to the semifinals. Nicaragua (0-2) and Suriname (0-2) will fight to advance to the quarterfinals.

Evans Antonio Solis NCA

Mexico maintained their undefeated thanks to their overwhelming advantage in blocking (16-3) and a comfortable lead in attacks (35-29) against Nicaragua. Mexico also had a slight edge in service points (3-2) and committed fewer errors than Nicaragua (14-21).

Opposite hitter Cristian Cadena led Mexico with 13 points on 10 attacks, two blocks, and one ace. Ramiro Ramírez and Gael Olivas each added 8 points. Setter José Alejandro Adame contributed with a match-high of 4 blocking points.

Evans Solís was the top scorer for Nicaragua, scoring 10 points on 8 attacks and 2 service points.

Mexico celebrate

Mexico scored from all angles in the first set, pulling apart Nicaragua’s offense, particularly in the opening set.

Cristian Cadena, Mexico’s top scorer, said: “The communication among all of us helped achieve the result in the first set. We supported each other on the court to take the lead. The finish wasn’t easy; we lost focus a bit, but we got the win. Tomorrow, we will give our best against the United States, and we’ll leave the rest in God’s hands”.

Evans Solís, Nicaragua’s top scorer, said: “At the beginning, we played very tense. We gained more confidence in the next two sets, showing the good spirit that characterizes us. The outcome was not what we hoped for. Mexico studied us very well, especially me. Tomorrow, we will give it our all against Suriname. They are not an easy team, and we won’t give up as we aim to represent Nicaragua well”.

Cuba Achieve a 3-0 Win over Puerto Rico

NOGALES, Mexico, June 12, 2024. – Cuba secured a 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-23) victory over Puerto Rico to remain undefeated at the U21 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship in Nogales, Mexico.

On Thursday, Cuba (2-0) will compete for first place in pool B against Canada (2-0); the winner will advance directly to the semifinals. Puerto Rico (0-2) will face Guatemala (0-2) for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Cuba dominated in kills (44-30) and blocks (9-4). Puerto Rico had the edge in serves (4-1) and conceded fewer points on errors (21-27).

Carlos Javier Pereira CUB

Three Cuban players finished with double-digits, led by Carlos Pereira Larea with 16 points (15 attacks, one block), followed by Félix Rodríguez with 15 points (11 attacks, a match-high of 4 blocks), and Kelly Oviedo with 12 points (10 attacks, 2 blocks).

Lorenzo Rivera led Puerto Rico’s offense with 14 points on 13 attacks and one block.

Kelly Oviedo closed the first set by on a kill and a block. After a defensive error by Puerto Rico while Carlos Pereira was serving and then another attack from Pereira, Cuba took a 2-0 lead. In the third set, Cuba recovered from a four-point deficit (12-16) to go neck to neck with Puerto Rico, remaining tied up to 22 points, and then sealed the straight-set victory.

Cuba

Carlos Pereira Larea, Cuba’s top scorer, said: “It was a very emotional match. Cuba is prepared for everything. We studied our opponent and followed the strategy set out by our coach. Tomorrow, against Canada, we will come out strong”.

Lian Sem Estrada, Cuba’s coach, said: “After struggling against Guatemala, I think that was breaking the ice for this generation, which hadn’t faced any level of competition before. Today, before the match, I told them that we are building a path, we must go step by step, and nothing has been achieved yet. We are taking it one step at a time to reach our goal of qualifying for the World Championship”.

United States Dominant Against Suriname

NOGALES, Mexico, June 12, 2024. – United States dominated Suriname 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-15) on Wednesday in the U21 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship being played in Nogales, Mexico.

The U.S. with an undefeated record (2-0) in pool A, will conclude the preliminary round against Mexico on Thursday. Suriname (0-2) will play against Nicaragua. The first-place team in the group advances directly to the semifinals.

United States outclassed Suriname in less than an hour (55 minutes), with advantages in attacks (38-16), blocks (7-1), and serves (7-1). Suriname committed one less error than the United States (23-24).

Victor Loiola USA

Victor Loiola from the United States was the top scorer of the match with 14 points (12 attacks, two blocks). Opposite hitter Finn Kearny scored 9 points, including a match-high of 3 aces. Outside hitter Sean Kelly also scored 9 points.

Opposite hitter Mesón Anakaba was Suriname’s best scorer with 10 attacking points.

The U.S. quickly jumped to significant leads in all three sets, maintaining their dominance until the end.

Meson Anakaba SUR

Victor Loiola, top scorer of United States said: “We were working on our teamwork and just how we can bring energy as a team together and dominate the tournament. Today a few more guys got more playing time. Compared to yesterday we were a little bit more connected, got rid of the jetlag and as a group we were all connected. Tomorrow against the home team, we faced Argentina at Worlds and we learned how to play with the environment against us, we’ll take the “boos” as cheers”.

Mesón Anakaba, top scorer of Suriname expressed: “We came into this game knowing that they are stronger than us, so we just focused on doing our game. It didn’t go as we planned but we tried our best. Tomorrow, we must win to make it into the next round so we have to give our all. We are facing Nicaragua; it will be an interesting match and to be honest we came here focused on them to reach the next round”.

Canada Score Second Win at NORCECA U21

NOGALES, Mexico, June 12, 2024. – Canada scored their second victory in the U21 Men’s NORCECA Championship after defeating Guatemala 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-17) on Wednesday in Nogales, Mexico.

Canada has a 2-0 record in pool B and will conclude the preliminary round on Thursday against Cuba. Guatemala (0-2) will face Puerto Rico.

Canada outperformed Guatemala 44-30 in attacks, 12-1 in blocks, and 2-1 in aces. Guatemala committed fewer errors than Canada (18-28).

Canada celebrated

Canadian opposite hitter Daniil Hershtynovich led his team with 12 points from 8 attacks, 3 blocks, and one ace. Outside hitter Piers de Greeff added 11 points from 9 attacks and 2 blocks. Kai Boyko finished with 7 points.

Guatemala’s team captain, Roberto Recinos, scored 12 points, with a match-high of 11 attacks and one block. Opposite hitter Luis Mendizábal contributed 7 points.

Captain Roberto Recinos GUA attack

Canada’s errors worked to Guatemala’s advantage, allowing them to steal a set point before the extended finish in the first set. Canada remained inconsistent throughout the match but managed to capitalize on their blocking.

Daniil Hershtynovich, Canada’s leading scorer said: “It was a challenging first set. I think not having fans on the stands it took time for us to create energy for ourselves. That energy helped us to pull out of the first and second set. For tomorrow we want to bring great energy against, keep the same mentality no matter who we’re facing”.

Luis Mendizábal, Guatemala’s opposite hitter, said: “I believe the team’s attitude didn’t stay consistent throughout the match. In the first set, we were closer in the score, it was tight, and we had very good energy. For tomorrow’s pool-play final, I hope we can bring the same energy as yesterday. We have the team to compete, and we’re going to give it our all against Puerto Rico”.

Mexico Off to a Great Start at NORCECA U21 

NOGALES, Mexico, June 11, 2024 – Mexico started off the NORCECA U21 Men’s Continental Championship with a straight-set victory, 25-21, 25-16, 25-14, over Suriname on Tuesday in Nogales, Mexico.

Mexico’s (1-0) next opponent in pool A is Nicaragua (0-1). Suriname (0-1) will face the United States (1-0).

The host team, Mexico, dominated in every skill of the game; they had a significant lead in blocks (12-5), attacks (38-25), and aces (5-1). Both teams were tied in errors (20-20).

Mexico celebrate

Mexican opposite hitter Cristian Cadena led all scorers of the match with 13 points (11 attacks, 2 blocks, one ace). Outside hitter Samuel Valdes scored 9 points.

Suriname’s team captain, Anfernee Lee, finished with 9 points.

Mexico started slowly but gained momentum, managing to contain Suriname starting in the second set. In the first set, the teams were tied at 14 points and matched in all game aspects (12 attacks, 4 blocks, 1 ace). In the third set, Mexico quickly jumped to an eight-point lead (10-8), comfortably sealing their first victory.

Meson Anakaba SUR

Bladimir Rivera, captain of Mexico, said: “We started a bit nervous due to our international debut. We adapted well to the environment, improved as the match progressed, and managed to overcome Suriname’s height advantage (in that aspect, they handled it very well). I believe our greatest strength is our counterattack; when they give us a free ball, we don’t hesitate to hit hard and go for the direct point.”

Anfernee Lee, captain of Suriname said: “Mexico is a very good team. At the beginning of the match, we were doing our best and they proved they are a better team. We had some good points. I think generally speaking we have to get climatized to the court and work a lot in the morning practice”.

Canada Swept Puerto Rico to start U21 NORCECA

NOGALES, Mexico, June 11, 2024. – Canada swept Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-13) in their pool B debut at the NORCECA U21 Men’s Continental Championship, which began on Tuesday in Nogales, Mexico.

Canada (1-0) will face Guatemala (0-1) on the second day of competition. Puerto Rico (0-1) will go up against Cuba (1-0).

Canada finished their first match with a huge advantage in blocks (10-1). They also led in attacks (34-30), scored one more point from serves (5-4), and conceded fewer points on  errors (20-26).

Piers de Greeff CAN

Outside hitter Piers De Greeff was Canada’s top scorer with 14 points (12 attacks, 2 blocks). Opposite Daniil Hershtynovich recorded 13 points (12 attacks, 1 service ace).

Puerto Rico’s team captain, opposite Ramón Rosado, scored 12 points (10 attacks, one block, one ace). Outside hitter Lorenzo Rivera added 9 points.

Janluar Figueroa PUR

Kai Boyko, captain of Canada said: “There were some ups and downs, which is normal because for many of the guys this is there first international match. We were kind of figuring out what we got to do. We stuck to the game plan well especially in the second and third set. We’re happy with how it went for the most part. I think we blocked a lot better towards the end”.

Ramón Rosado, captain of Puerto Rico, said: “It was challenging. We knew little about them because this Canada team is a new group, and as we saw, they are very good. We came out stronger in the first two sets. I feel that the third set could have been better. But it’s just the first game; hopefully, we’ll get to face them again. We’re going to keep working hard”.

United States Begins NORCECA U21 with a Straight Set Victory over Nicaragua

NOGALES, Mexico, June 11, 2024.- The United States won 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-12) over Nicaragua in their opening match of the NORCECA U21 Men’s Continental Championship in Nogales, Mexico.

In pool A, the United States will face Suriname on Wednesday, while Nicaragua will go up against Mexico.

The Americans were dominant, leading 42-16 in attacks, 7-2 in blocks, and 6-2 in service points. The United States gave away 29 points from unforced errors compared to 20 from Nicaragua.

USA celebrate

Two players scored double digits for the United States; middle blocker Jackson Cryst with 13 points (8 attacks, 3 blocks, 2 aces) and outside hitter Sterling Foley with 11 points, all on attacks.

Nicaragua’s opposite Taushaun Hooker and outside hitter Evans Solís each scored six points.

Devin Taushaun Hooker NCA

Nicaragua managed to keep up with the U.S. only in the first set. The Americans dominated the rest of the match without complications.

Sean Kelly, captain of United States said: “It was a great beginning. We all know we could have played better but we’re just getting used to the gym, getting adjusted, we’re just making sure to stay together no matter what. We’ll definitely do better the rest of the tournament. In the first set we missed a lot of serves and didn’t have a lot of team energy, but towards the end we upped our level”.

Osmar Peralta, captain of Nicaragua, said: “The first set was much better. We executed a good attack and received well. Things didn’t go as we had planned. We’re going to turn the page and focus on the next match”.

Cuba Needed Five Sets to Defeat Guatemala in the NORCECA U21 Opener

NOGALES, Mexico, June 11, 2024. – Cuba needed five sets 3-2 (22-25, 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 15-13) to overcome Guatemala in the opening match of the NORCECA U21 Men’s Continental Championship, which began in Nogales, Mexico.

Cuba led in attack points with a 65-51 margin, while Guatemala was ahead in blocks (11-10) and service aces (5-3). Guatemala also committed fewer errors (31-36).

On the second day of pool B, Cuba will face Puerto Rico and Guatemala will go up against Canada.

Daniel Guillermo Martinez CUB celebrate

The top scorer of the match was Cuba’s middle blocker, Daniel Martínez, with 27 points on 22 attacks, 4 blocks, and one ace. He was followed by Kelly Oviedo with 14 points, all on kills  and Carlos Pereira with 13 points on 11 attacks and 2 blocks.

Guatemala’s opposite hitter, Luis Mendizábal, led his team with 23 points on 18 attacks and a  match-high of 5 blocks. Team captain Roberto Recinos contributed 15 points on 14 attacks and 1 ace. Middle blocker José Samayoa added 12 points from 8 attacks, 2 blocks, and 2 service aces.

Luis Roberto Mendizabal GUA

Cuba and Guatemala played a balanced match in which the Central American team seized every opportunity well to take the first set and then entered the next two sets with more confidence, preventing the Cubans from pulling too far ahead. In the fourth set, Guatemala rallied, scoring five consecutive points (from 17-21) to take a 22-21 lead, and then forcing a close fifth set.

Cuba’s captain, Ronaldo Flaquet, said: “We started poorly. Guatemala complicated the match for us; they’re not a team of the level we are used to, and they messed up our game system. We lost focus a lot, but we managed to pull through, and the important thing is the victory”.

Guatemala’s captain, Roberto Recinos, commented: “It was an exciting start. We trained very hard for the competition, and we showed it. The opponent was very strong, but we never gave up. We hope to have a better attitude for the next match”.

Eight Teams to Compete for the NORCECA Men’s U21 Title

NOGALES, Mexico, June 10, 2024.-  Eight teams are ready to compete for the NORCECA Men’s U21 Continental Championship title, which kicks off on Tuesday, June 11, in Nogales, Mexico.

The head coaches have shared their first impressions ahead of the event, which is part of the qualification system for the FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship in 2025.

The organizing committee confirmed that the event will be streamed on Facebook Live  Federación Mexicana de Voleibol, A.C.

Daniel Lewis, Head Coach of Canada: “The team is of first year university players, so they have some good experience but not internationally. We had five weeks to prepare, and I noticed that our team started to come together well, so I expect us to be ok. We don’t know about the other teams at the beginning of the tournaments, which makes it difficult to prepare for them and you must focus more on yourself, your own team. As the tournament grows, we hope to grow as a team as well, that’s our goal for sure. We take it one game at a time and try to never over or underestimate anybody, just try to make sure our level is always there”.

Canada

Lian Sem Estrada, Entrenador de Cuba: “This is a completely new team. The preparation went well, although there were some challenges because it was at the same time with the U19 team’s preparation. We know these players have little experience, but we will defend our title as champions. We come with the same eagerness and determination to win the ticket to the World Championship.”

Cuba

Luis Fernando Castañeda, Entrenador de Guatemala: “I have come with a young team. We have worked hard, and the level of competition will be high. For us, it’s good to keep competing as preparation for more events. We have a couple of players with experience, but overall, it’s a young group. We hope that the players will develop and evolve as the games progress. We aim to play our best and improve our ranking.”

Guatemala

Jorge Alberto Romero, Head Coach of Mexico: “Since last year I’ve been coaching the team, we finished in second place at the U21 Pan American Cup held in Cuba, and we also competed together in the World Championship in Bahrain. The team is strong, we have a good chance of taking a medal, and our goal is to qualify for the World Championship. However, we know we’ll be facing very tough opponents”.

Mexico

Jorge Mena, Head Coach of Nicaragua: “This version of the team is slightly better. The boys are well-prepared; some of them have considerable experience (5 or 6 participated in the U21 event in Cuba last year), and 80% of the team are the Central American runners-up. We want to perform well, give the players the opportunity to play against high-level teams, and I believe we have a good chance of advancing to the quarterfinals”.

Nicaragua

Gerardo De Jesús Sánchez, Head Coach of Puerto Rico: “We have come with a balanced team. I have players with international experience; some competed in the U19 World Championship last year in Argentina. Others are new to the group, and some are changing positions. We have worked for a month and a half, and we are in pretty good shape”.

Puerto Rico

Lionel Blokland, Team Manager of Suriname: “Our preparation is fine. The team spirit is high because we want to show the world that Suriname is not a country that you can dismiss, we are here to stay. Suriname is fighting to get better every year, so the other teams have to watch out because slowly but surely, we’re coming on top. That’s our main focus right now”.

Suriname

John Hawks, Head Coach of United States: “We are very excited to be here and represent our country in this tournament. We have a mixture of new guys, but we have a core nucleus that competed in the World Championship last summer. I expect us to compete hard and play for the gold medal”.

United State

NORCECA U21 Men’s Championship Set to Begin in Nogales

NOGALES, Mexico, June 9, 2024. – NORCECA and the organizing committee of the NORCECA U21 Men’s Continental Championship conducted several inspections ahead of the competition set to start on Tuesday, June 11.

In a joint effort, the Mexican Volleyball Federation, the Municipal Sports Institute of Nogales, and the Government of the City of Nogales welcomed the NORCECA Control Committee members to carry out the inspection of the competition hall, Carlos Hernández Gymnasium.

The Director of Competition, Alberto Arreola, led the inspections to ensure that all facilities meet the competition regulations established by the NORCECA Volleyball Confederation.

The organizing committee confirmed that the event will be streamed on Facebook Live  Federación Mexicana de Voleibol, A.C.

The NORCECA U21 Men’s Continental Championship is part of the qualification system for the 2025 FIVB U21 World Championship.

The 2024 edition will feature eight teams divided into two groups: Group A includes Nicaragua, Mexico, Suriname, and the United States; while Group B consists of Canada, Cuba, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico.

The top team from each group will advance directly to the semifinals, scheduled for Saturday, June 15, while the second and third-place teams will compete in the quarterfinals to complete the semifinal lineup.

Preliminary Round Schedule

June 11

2:00 pm   Cuba vs Guatemala

4:00 pm   Nicaragua vs United States

6:00 pm   Canada vs Puerto Rico

8:00 pm   Mexico vs Suriname

June 12

2:00 pm   Canada vs Guatemala

4:00 pm   Suriname vs United States

6:00 pm   Cuba vs Puerto Rico

8:00 pm   Nicaragua vs Mexico

June 13

2:00 pm   Guatemala vs Puerto Rico

4:00 pm   Suriname vs Nicaragua

6:00 pm   Cuba vs Canada

8:00 pm   Mexico vs United States

The NORCECA U21 Men’s Continental Championship Returns After Six Years

NOGALES, Mexico, June 7, 2024. – The NORCECA U21 Men’s Continental Championship will be held at Carlos Hernández Carrera Gymnasium in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico from June 10 to 17, after six years of absence.

The last edition of the NORCECA U21 Men’s Continental Championship took place in 2018, and due to the problems caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, it could not be held every two years as it had been since its creation in 1998.

The city of Nogales, Sonora in Mexico will host the event, which is part of the qualification system for the FIVB U21 World Championship in 2025.

Cuba is the current champion of the category, having won the title six times. They are followed by the United States with three gold medals and Canada with two.

The 2024 edition will feature the participation of eight teams divided into two groups: Group A with Nicaragua, Mexico, Suriname, and the United States; and Group B consisting of Canada, Cuba, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico.

The preliminary meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 10, and pool-play begins on Tuesday, June 11.

Preliminary Round Schedule

June 11

2:00 pm   Cuba vs Guatemala

4:00 pm   Nicaragua vs United States

6:00 pm   Canada vs Puerto Rico

8:00 pm   Mexico vs Suriname

June 12

2:00 pm   Canada vs Guatemala

4:00 pm   Suriname vs United States

6:00 pm   Cuba vs Puerto Rico

8:00 pm   Nicaragua vs Mexico

June 13

2:00 pm   Guatemala vs Puerto Rico

4:00 pm   Suriname vs Nicaragua

6:00 pm   Cuba vs Canada

8:00 pm   Mexico vs United States

Year by Year Podiums

YEARGOLDSILVERBRONZE
1998CANDOMUSA
2000CUBPURUSA
2002CANPURUSA
2004CUBUSAPUR
2006CUBUSACAN
2008CUBCANUSA
2010USACANPUR
2012USACANMEX
2014CUBCANUSA
2016USACUBCAN
2018CUBDOMCAN

Composite Medal Table

COUNTRYGOLDSILVERBRONZETOTAL
CUB6107
USA32510
CAN2439
PUR0224
DOM0101
MEX0011
en_USEnglish