Maximiliano Aponte of Puerto Rico MVP of NORCECA Boys’ U17 Championship

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 12, 2023.- Maximiliano Aponte, outside hitter for Puerto Rico, was selected the Most Valuable Player “MVP” of the first edition of the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Continental Championship that concluded on Sunday at Manuel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Aponte was handed the award during the closing ceremony after Puerto Rico was crowned champion. Aponte was also awarded as the Second Best Spiker.

Also from team Puerto Rico, Fernando Castello was selected the Best Blocker, Erick Vazquez the Best Opposite, outside hitter Adrian Carrillo the Best Receiver and Ignacio Cruz the Best Libero and Best Digger. 

Emi Diaz of Mexico received the awards for Best Spiker, Best Server and Best Scorer. His teammate middle blocker was granted the Second Best Blocker award.

The Best Setter was Cuban Yothuel Vergara.

Individual awards

Puerto Rico Wins NORCECA Boys’ U17 Championship

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 12, 2023.- Puerto Rico defeated Mexico 3-1 (25-23, 24-26, 25-16, 25-20) to win the first edition of the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Continental Championship on Sunday at Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Veracruz, Mexico.

Puerto Rico finished the event with a 5-0 record and Mexico with 5-1. Both teams, along with Cuba,  qualified to the 2024 FIVB Boys’ U17 World Championship, as the three top finishers of the NORCECA U17 Championship.  

Puerto Rico’s 14-7 advantage in blocks were crucial in winning the gold medal match, as well as their 30 points on Mexico’s errors. Both teams leveled in 51 kill points. Mexico held a 7-4 margin in aces and scored on 20 opponent errors.

Opposite hitter Erick Vazquez of Puerto Rico scored a match-high of 25 points on 23 kills and two blocks. Middle blocker Fernando Castello contributed to the win with 15 points on match-high of 9 stuff blocks and 6 kills. Outside hitter Adrian Carrillo added 11 points.

Puerto Rico Campeon

Outside hitter Emi Diaz led Mexico with 21 points on 17 kills, 5 blocks and a match-high of 4 aces. Opposite hitter Ricardo Gonzalez contributed 18 points on 17 kills and one ace.

Puerto Rico dominated the first set mainly with their tough kills, but Mexico managed to tie at 23 points with González’s attack and Villalobos’ block. However, Puerto Rico closed the set with an ace from Aponte. Mexico leveled the match winning the second after losing a set point to Castello’s block. Puerto Rico controlled the third set, establishing a significant lead from the beginning (11-6), against an erratic opponent, and sealed the victory in the fourth set led by Vazquez and Castello, this last one secured the gold medal point with a stuff block”.

Gustavo Alvarez, captain of Puerto Rico said “It’s really exciting to win in front of the fans, a gym at its full capacity and it’s an honor to win the tournament, I really liked the tournament. I believe our serves and defense were very effective to take the win”.

Cuba takes NORCECA U17 Bronze and final berth to Worlds

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 12, 2023.- Cuba took the final berth for the 2024 FIVB World Championship winning the bronze medal 3-0 (25-11, 25-12, 25-22) over Costa Rica at the first edition of the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Continental Championship on Sunday at Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Cuba finished the tournament with 3-2 record and qualified to the first edition of the Under-17 Boys’ FIVB World Championship as one of the top three finishers. Costa Rica ends 3-3.

Cuba outperformed Costa Rica 45 to 27 in attacking points, 6 to 2 in points from blocks and 6-0 in aces. Cuba scored on 18 opponent errors and handed out 13.

Yosdani Medina led Cuba scoring 16 points on 13 kills, one block and two aces. Middle blocker Julio Acosta added 10 points and team captain Byron Herrera tallied 9.

Julian Soto CRC

On Costa Rica’s side, middle blocker Julian Soto De Franco led with 13 points, while opposite Ignacio Morales and middle blocker Derek Farley registered 6 points each.

The most contested set was the third, when Costa Rica trailed from a three-point deficit (19-22) on effective serves and Cuban errors for a close finish.

Byron Herrera Cuba’s captain said “Costa Rica played good volleyball and so did we. We achieved our goal of qualifying to Worlds and we also wanted the gold medal, but it didn’t happen; it will be next time”.

Costa Rica’s captain Gabriel Córdoba said “We gave our best during the tournament, we never were an easy opponent, this is a historic fourth place for Costa Rica. We need to collect more experience to win a medal in the future”.

Honduras ends eighth place over Suriname

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 12, 2023. – Honduras closed the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Championship in eighth place over Suriname 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 25-22) on Saturday at the Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Honduras finished with a 1-4 record for position eight and Suriname 1-5 for position nine. In the preliminary round, Honduras had lost to Suriname in five sets.

Honduras was better in attacks (41-38) and in aces (7-3), while Suriname led in blocks (9-6). Honduras committed one error less than Suriname (40-41).


Honduras’ team captain Saul Coca, was the top scorer of the match with 20 points on 17 attacks and 3 blocks, followed by the outside hitter Esdras Ramírez with 13 points.

Three players from Suriname scored double digits, led once again by opposite Javier Nasibdar with 14 points, and outside hitters Issaiah Olijfveld and Mathew Lie Ten with 13 and 11 points respectively.

After losing the first set, Suriname quickly took a 17-9 lead to tie the match, winning the second set, but Honduras wasn’t surprised and managed to win the next two sets with advantages from the start.

Saul Coca, captain of Honduras, commented on the previous match against Suriname, “We were able to learn from our mistakes, we noticed that Suriname’s high balls ended in touches, so we adjusted to defend better. We are happy to take the victory”.

Roberto Benschop, captain of Suriname said “It was a fun tournament, a great learning experience for me and my team. The match could have gone better, I think compared to the previous one, we had too many mistakes”.

Mexico beat Cuba to play for  NORCECA Boys’ U17 Title

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 11, 2023.- Mexico beat Cuba 3-1 (22-25, 28-26, 27-25, 25-20) to play for the title of the first edition of the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Championship at Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Mexico will face Puerto Rico in the gold medal match; both qualified to the 2024 FIVB World Championship.  Cuba goes against Costa Rica for bronze and the last berth for Worlds according to FIVB regulations.

Mexico prevailed on points from serves 11-3 and scoring 31 points on Cuba’s errors. Cuba held advantages in kills 52-48 and a slight 13-12 margin in blocks. Mexico gave away 28 points on unforced errors.

Opposite hitter Ricardo Gonzalez of Mexico scored a match-high of 22 points on 20 kills, one block and one ace. Outside hitters Emi Yanixan Diaz and Oskar Gonzalez contributed 17 and 15 points respectively. Diaz on 15 kills and two aces, and Gonzalez on 10 kills, two blocks and two aces.

Daniel Fajardo MEX

Cuba’s top scorers were middle blocker Julio Acosta with 17 points on 11 kills, 5 blocks and one ace, captain Byron Herrera with 16 points on 13 kills and 3 blocks, and outside hitter Andy Marrero with 14 points.

Despite Mexico’s efforts trailing on four points (16-21), Cuba won the first set benefiting from Mexico’s errors, in addition to Marrero and Acosta attacks.

México won the second and third sets in a dramatic fashion. Closing set two on a kill by Emi Diaz and an ace by Tomás Villalobos; and the third set, after losing two set points, was sealed with a powerful attack from Oskar Gonzalez.

The teams tied at 12 in the fourth, but from there on, Mexico remained on top, closing on a service error from Cuba.

Mexico’s coach, Denis Omar Rivera, said about the victory, “It was a nail-biting game. Mexico adjusted, pressured Cuba with the serves, and played with heart, which was the team’s defining characteristic. The support from the fans was spectacular; it gave us goosebumps. We are very grateful for that”.

Cuba’s coach, Mario Izquierdo, expressed, “It was all about tactical errors; the team made a lot of mistakes in the tactical approach we had planned to face Mexico. Mexico knew how to exploit our weaknesses and secured the victory. Now we have to fight for the bronze and the berth for the  World Championship because there are only three slots available”.

Puerto Rico reaches NORCECA Boys’ U17 Final beating Costa Rica

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 11, 2023.- Puerto Rico beat Costa Rica 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-19) in semifinals to reach the gold medal match of the first edition of the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Championship in Gymnasium Miguel Hidalgo of Poza Rica, Mexico.

Puerto Rico will face the winner between Mexico and Cuba for the gold medal, while Costa Rica goes against the loser for the bronze medal.

Four players led Puerto Rico with double digits, outside hitter Maximiliano Aponte (15), middle blockers  Fernando Castello (11) and Jorge Suarez (11), and opposite hitter Erick Vazquez (10).

Derek Farley led Costa Rica with 10 points, Ignacio Morales added 9 points.

Fernando Castello PUR

Puerto Rico was superior to Costa Rica in every skill of the game, kills (43-31), blocks (7-4) and aces (6-4). Costa Rica committed one less error than Puerto Rico (19-20).

The first set had a quicker pace. Puerto Rico closed the second set after missing five set points (25-14). Costa Rica in the third set rallied from seven points (10-22) with good defense and opponent errors.

Puerto Rico’s libero, Ignacio Cruz, said after the victory, “We had a faster game at the beginning. Our attitude declined, and that affected our rhythm. We were always putting pressure on Costa Rica, even though they recovered at some point. I think for tomorrow, we need to improve our passing and blocking; I believe we can win the gold medal”.

José Gutiérrez, libero of Costa Rica, said, “We had many ups and downs because we faced a tough opponent; at times, we did very well. I think we had too many errors in defense and reception. We are still going to fight for the bronze”.

Guatemala fifth place in five-setter comeback against Dominican Republic

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 11, 2023.- Guatemala with a five-set comeback 3-2 (23-25, 14-25, 27-25, 25-21, 15-9) victory of Dominican Republic finished fifth place at the first edition of the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Championship on Saturday at the Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Guatemala finished the event with 3-2 record and Dominican Republic with 1-3 for positions five and six respectively.

Guatemala recovered from a two-set deficit to control Dominican Republic 49-46 in kills and 10-5 in blocks. Dominican Republic held a significant 13-3 advantage in aces. Guatemala ended with one unforced error less than Dominican Republic (41-42).

Luis Mendizabal, Guatemala’s team captain, led his team with 19 points on 16 kills and 3 aces. Also contributing to the win, outside hitter Juan Carlos Menendez and middle blocker José Quintana added 12 points each.

Daniel Fernandez DOM

Dominican outside hitter Malik Britton was the leading attacker in the match with 25 points on 22 kills, two blocks and one ace, accompanied by middle blocker Marvin Rodriguez with 17 points and team captain Allen Baldera with 14 points.

Dominican Republic snatched the first set from Guatemala recovering from a seven-point deficit (4-11). Britton and Rodriguez took charge of Dominican Republic’s offensive in winning a comfortable second set. Guatemala forced another set, winning a contested third set. The Central Americans kept on strong with Mendizabal and Asencio up to the tie-break win.

Edvin López, head coach of Guatemala said, “We neutralized their most powerful player (Britton). The athletes were able to analyze the game after losing the first two sets and applied themselves well. There were players we had to motivate to keep them from losing concentration”.

Victor Bermudez, head coach of Dominican Republic, said, “I think our physical condition took a toll on us. We started very well, but we couldn’t keep the pace. They (Guatemala) were more consistent, and that’s why they took the victory”.

Nicaragua finish seventh at NORCECA Boys’ U17

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 11, 2023.- Nicaragua defeated Suriname 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-12) to finish seventh place at the first edition of the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Championship on Saturday at Gymnasium Miguel Hidalgo in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Nicaragua ends the event with 1-3 record and seventh place. Suriname will face Honduras on Sunday for positions 8-9.

Nicaragua’s huge 41-12 advantage in attacks was to thank for in its straight set victory over Suriname. Nicaragua also led 9-2 in aces, while Suriname held a slight 3-2 advantage in blocks. Both teams committed 23 unforced errors.


Outside hitter Bradley Cordon from Nicaragua led all scorers with 21 points, on 19 kills and two aces. Joshuan Rivas and Ismael Martinez added 9 and 8 points respectively.

Javier Nasibdar topped Suriname with 9 points.

Jorge Mena, coach of Nicaragua said, “Developing this age-group is very beneficial, and it was a nice tournament. Unfortunately, we were in a tough group. We fought hard, and each match was a learning experience for the boys. We were confident in winning this match based on what we had observed from Suriname. We hope to work more with this new generation and age-group, getting fully involved in Central America for the upcoming tournaments”.

Mexico Wins Pool A undefeated; Costa Rica takes second place

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 10, 2023.- Mexico defeated Guatemala 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-21) to win Pool A undefeated and Costa Rica finished second in the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Continental Championship on Friday at Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

On Saturday, Mexico faces Cuba in semifinals and Costa Rica (3-1) goes up against Puerto Rico. Guatemala (2-2) will play for fifth place against Dominican Republic.

Mexico held a 43-25 advantage in kills and a 7-3 margin in aces. Both teams were leveled to 7 points in blocks. Guatemala committed fewer unforced errors 18 to 23.

Outside hitter Emi Yanixan Diaz led Mexico with 19 points on 17 kills and two aces, joined by opposite hitter Ricardo Rivera with 12 points on 9 kills, one block and two aces.

Guatemala’s top scorer was outside hitter Jose Asencio with 10 points.

Ricardo Gonzalez GUA

Mexico comfortably took the first set and then closed a tight second set after losing two set points. Guatemala capitalized on Mexico’s errors and with good defense jumped to a seven-point lead (11-4) in the third set, however gained momentum leveling the score to 12 with strong kills and sealed the win.

Manuel Delgado, setter of Mexico, said, “We recovered from being seven points down in the second set because we couldn’t score on kills; our passing failed. I feel that today we played relaxed because yesterday we secured a spot in the World Championship. Guatemala pressured us; I think they were the toughest team we faced. In the end, we got the result. We need to improve our attitude for the semifinal and start strong”.

Guatemala’s top scorer, José Asencio, said, “We made a great effort against a great opponent. I believe we could have done more; we failed in reception. Tomorrow, we want to win fifth place”.

Costa Rica beats Suriname and waits for final position in Pool A

POZA RICA, M3xico, November 10, 2023.- Costa Rica beat Suriname 3-0 (25-7, 25-10, 25-10) and waits to determine its final position in Pool A at the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Championship being held at Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Costa Rica with 3-1 record in Pool A will wait for the result between Mexico and Guatemala to see if they advance to semifinals.

Suriname (1-3) finished fourth in Pool A to face Nicaragua on Saturday for seventh place; the loser will play for positions 8 to 9 against Honduras on Sunday.

Costa Rica outperformed Suriname in kills (47-11), in blocks (6-0) and aces (5-2), committing 14 errors against 17.

Julian David Soto de Franco CRC

Costa Rica’s middle blocker Julian Soto topped all scorers with 16 points on 15 kills and one block. Jean Carlo Vega and Derek Faley added 11 points each.

Costa Rica was dominant over Suriname, maintaining a sizable lead throughout the entire match.

Julian Soto, Costa Rica’s top scorer, said, “We came with a plan to play with quick balls and open the sides and today we executed it well, achieving a good result. We’ll wait to see what position we end up in. Thankfully, things have gone well”.

 Isaiah Olijfveld from Suriname expressed, “We didn’t block, the defense fell apart”.

Guatemala wins against Suriname to keep hopes alive to move forward

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 10, 2023.- Guatemala won 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-12) against Suriname to keep its hopes alive to move into the NORCECA Boys’ U17 semifinals at Poza Rica, Mexico and qualify to the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

Guatemala stands 2-1 in Pool A and will finish pool-play against Mexico (3-0), while Suriname (1-2) goes against Costa Rica (2-1). There is still one spot for semifinals and a slot for the FIVB 2024 World Championship up for grabs.

Guatemala prevailed over Suriname with a 37-18 advantage in kills and a 6-4 margin in blocks. Suriname held a 9-6 advantage in aces. Guatemala scored on 25 opponent unforced errors and committed 17 of their own.

Luis Mendizabal GUA

Opposite hitter and team captain Luis Mendizabal scored a match-high of 17 points on 14 kills, one block and four aces. Outside hitter Juan Menendez chipped in 10 points on 8 kills and two aces.

Suriname’s leading attacker was opposite hitter Javier Nasibdar with 9 points, followed by outside hitter Roberto Benschop with 8 points.

Guatemala started off strong with an 8-0 lead in the first set. Guatemala won a roller coaster second set pressured by a more settled Suriname, but finally took the win in straight sets.

Guatemala’s coach, Edvin López, said, “We are very happy; we came in with a positive mindset to achieve the 3-0 victory, and we succeeded. The boys rested well and recovered for today. We hope to have a good match against Mexico tonight and fight for qualification. Today, we improved in reception, which was a factor against Costa Rica. The team is progressing, and we will give our all against Mexico”.

Carlos Orta Fellove, Suriname’s coach, expressed, “Guatemala is a team with more experience than Suriname, better man-to-man, dominating more technical elements. We did everything possible to try to win and preserve the players’ strength because we have another match tonight, so I made several changes. In my opinion, we played well”.

Costa Rica improves record 2-1 defeating Honduras

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 10, 2023. – Costa Rica defeated Honduras 3-0 (25-13, 25-9, 25-10), improving their record to 2-1 in the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Continental Championship taking place at the Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Costa Rica (2-1) in Pool A, will face Suriname tonight, aiming to reach the semifinals and winning the last slot to the FIVB 2024 World Championship.

Honduras finished fifth place in Pool A and will play for positions eight and nine on Sunday.

Costa Rica had control throughout the entire match, finishing with a sizable 35-15 lead in kills, 7-1 in blocks, and 4-2 aces. Costa Rica scored 29 points from Honduras’ errors and handed out 14.

Derek Farley CRC

Two middle blocker led Costa Rica, Derek Farley with 16 points (15 attacks, one ace) and Julian Soto with 14 points (11 attacks, 3 blocks). Opposite hitter Ignacio Morales contributed 9 points.

From Honduras, outside hitter Esdras Ramírez ended with 6 points.

Derek Farley from Costa Rica said, “At first, it was challenging for us because we didn’t know the opponent. We were able to settle in and secure a comfortable victory. Costa Rica’s determination was evident today, as well as in previous matches; that defines us as a country”.

“Yesterday’s match was thrilling, emotional, and exhausting; we thought we could win it. Costa Rica has an advanced level, and my boys are still processing yesterday’s loss. We are still in competition, and we will give our all. The team is learning to be resilient, and I am proud of how they are embracing the process”, said Honduras coach Alejandro Castillo.

Mexico sweeps Costa Rica to secure a spot in Semis and Worlds

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 9, 2023. – Mexico swept Costa Rica 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-15), securing their spot in semifinals of the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Continental Championship and qualifying for the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

Mexico with a perfect 3-0 record in Pool A, secured their spot in Saturday’s semifinals and one of the four berths to the World Championship next year.

Mexico ends the preliminary round against Guatemala in Friday’s second session matches. Costa Rica with 1-1 record will play in Friday’s first session against Honduras (0-3) and Suriname (1-1) in the second session.

Mexico’s powerful 47 to 25 lead in attacks, was the key to dominating Costa Rica; they were also better in points from serves 5-3. Both teams scored 7 blocking points and committed 16 unforced errors.

Mexico celebrates

Mexican Emi Yanixan Díaz led all scorers with 21 points on 18 kills, one block, and two aces. Opposite hitter Ricardo González contributed to the win with 13 points, and outside hitter Sebastián Melesio added 10 points.

Costa Rica’s leading scorer was central player Ángel Monge with 8 points. Costa Rica suffered the loss of middle blocker Deniz Vargas in the first set.

Mexico’s coach, Denis Omar Rivera, said, “We’ve already achieved the goal of qualifying for the World Championship. Now, we need to focus on what’s ahead, finish the tournament well, and aim for a medal. We studied the opponent well statistically, worked on it in the morning, and were able to control Costa Rica, which is a good team. Our attack was decisive”.

Felipe Jenkins, Costa Rica’s coach, stated, “Mexico is a good team. However, when we were gaining momentum, we lost a crucial piece in the team (Deniz Vargas), one of our best players who contributes to both defense and offense. Things didn’t go our way. It’s a great experience, and the players are gaining valuable experience. Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to keep fighting, and the chance to qualify for the World Championship is still on the table”.

Puerto Rico wins five-set thriller to Cuba, both move into Semifinals

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 9, 2023. – Puerto Rico won a five-set thriller 3-2 (20-25, 26-24, 25-17, 22-25, 18-16) against Cuba for the top spot in Pool B at the NORCECA U17 Men’s Continental Championship in Poza Rica, Mexico. Both teams advanced to the semifinals.

Puerto Rico won Pool B undefeated  with a 3-0 record, while Cuba took second place with a 2-1 record. Both teams advanced to Saturday’s semifinals and also qualified for the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

In the match statistics, Puerto Rico led in kills 61-57 and service points 12-2, while Cuba had an advantage in blocks 11-7. Puerto Rico scored 31 points on Cuban errors and gave away 37 points.

Outside hitter Adrian Carrillo led Puerto Rico with 17 points on 11 kills, one block, and a match-high of 5 aces. Opposite hitter Erick Vazquez and middle blocker Jorge Suarez also contributed with 16 points each.

Andy Marrero CUB Jose Andres Soriano PUR

The leading scorer of the match was Cuban Yosdani Medina with 21 points on 19 kills and two blocks. He was joined by captain Byron Herrera with 12 points and outside hitter Andy Marrero with 11 attack points.

Puerto Rico recovered from losing the first set, evening the score after winning the second set with a six-point consecutive rally and recovering from a eight-point deficit (9-17).

Before celebrating the victory in the tie-break, Puerto Rico lost two match points (14-12) to Cuba’s block but in the end won in a dramatic finish 18-16 with a block by Erick Vazquez.

Puerto Rico’s coach, Carlos De Sevilla, commented on the historic win over Cuba, saying, “This is history. Cuba is a volleyball powerhouse in all categories. We are proud and happy for our program and the work we are doing. The boys had great motivation to win, without taking away credit from Cuba, who made us sweat until the end. We gave a great game to the people of Poza Rica, who deserve it”.

Cuba’s coach, Mario Izquierdo, said, “We had many ups and downs during the match. The boys knew how to recover and put up a fight. We let our guard down in receiving-passing-attacking when we almost had secured the second set; it’s natural in this age group, due to emotions. They have to experience and learn from it. The goal of qualifying for the World Championship was achieved, but we are going for the gold medal”.

Dominican Republic dominates Nicaragua in first Win

POZA RICA, México, November 9, 2023.- Dominican Republic dominated Nicaragua 3-1 (29-27, 16-25, 25-21, 25-21) in its first win at the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Continental Championship being held at Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Dominican Republic (1-2) finished third place in Pool B and will play for the fifth and sixth place of the event on Saturday. Nicaragua (0-3), fourth in the pool, will compete for the seventh place on Saturday, and the loser will have an additional game on Sunday for positions eight and nine.

Jael Rivas HON

Dominican Malik Britton was unstoppable, scoring 31 points (29 kills, one block, one ace), a tournament-high so far. Team captain Allen Baldera contributed 14 points (11 kills, one block, two aces), and middle blocker Marvin Rodríguez added 13 points (8 kills, 4 blocks, one ace).

Nicaragua’s middle blocker Ismael Martínez scored 23 points (22 kills, one block), and outside hitters Bradley Cordon and Joshuan Rivas contributed 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Dominican Republic held advantages in attacks (55-45) and blocks (10-5), while Nicaragua led in aces (7-5). Dominican Republic committed more unforced errors than Nicaragua (37-25).

Before Dominican Republic won the first set, Nicaragua lost two set points and then outperformed the Dominican team in the second set. Dominican Republic recovered from a three-point deficit (16-19) to win the third set and from a six-point deficit (8-14) to win the fourth set.

Michael Ramírez, setter of Dominican Republic, said, “We started the game to slow, into Nicaragua’s rhythm. The coach made the necessary changes for us to recover. We all worked together to achieve the victory”.

Ismael Martínez, Nicaragua’s top scorer, said, “It was a tough match, and we didn’t do a good job throughout the game. This has been our best match so far because we are more in sync. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the victory”.

Suriname edges Honduras in first Win at NORCECA U17

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 9, 2023. – Suriname edged past Honduras 3-2 (25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 23-25, 15-9) in their first victory at the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Continental Championship at the Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Suriname holds a record of one win and one loss; on Friday morning, they will face Guatemala (1-1), and in the evening, they will play against Costa Rica. Honduras, with a record of 0-3, will compete against Costa Rica in the morning in their last pool-play match.

Suriname led in service points 11-9, while Honduras had the advantage in attacks 48-40 and blocks 9-7. Suriname scored 52 points from Honduras’ errors and gave away 37.

Three players of Suriname scored double digits, led by opposite hitter Javier Nasibdar (15), followed by outside hitter Mathew Lie Ten (14), and team captain Roberto Benschop (13).

Isaiah Olifveld SUR

Saul Coca, captain of Honduras, was the top scorer of the match with 28 points, on 23 kills and a match-high of 5 aces.

Suriname won the first set after overcoming three set points (24-19). In the second set, the Caribbean team rallied from behind (12-17), had a tight finish tied at 22, and maintained the lead on the scoreboard. The roles switched in the third set as Honduras came from behind (6-12) to force a fourth set, closing it with a spectacular block from middle blocker Max Rubio.

Honduras forced a tie-break by winning the fourth set, leading from point 11. Despite Honduras’ efforts to recover from a two-set deficit, it was not enough to secure the victory.

“We made a lot of mistakes, we got a bit lazy, and Honduras took advantage. Our attacks and serves were better than Honduras. We must improve our passing for our next matches” said Suriname’s top scorer Javier Nasibdar.

Mexico takes down Honduras in second Win 

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 8, 2023.- Mexico won its second match of the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Championship with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-8, 25-14) victory over Honduras on Wednesday at the Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Mexico stands 2-0 in Pool A while Honduras is 0-2. The first and second placed teams of each pool advance to semifinals. The tournament offers four slots for the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

On Thursday, Mexico (2-0) will face Costa Rica (1-0) and Honduras (0-2) goes against Suriname (0-1).

Mexico’s strength in attacks was too much for Honduras to handle. The home team held a 41-9 advantage in kills, a slight 4-3 margin in blocks and 8-1 in aces. Both teams committed a similar number of unforced errors, Mexico 23, and Honduras 22.

Ricardo Gonzalez MEX

Mexican opposite hitter Ricardo Gonzalez led with a match-high of 20 points on 17 kills, one block and two aces. Outside hitter Emi Diaz added 17 points on 13 kills, one block and three aces.

Daniel Fajardo, the captain of Mexico, said, “In our second victory, we feel very happy. We have a clear understanding of what we are doing and where we are heading. Today was a good match, just like yesterday. We know that tomorrow will be a great match against Costa Rica. We watched them today, and with the support of the fans, we hope to secure the win”.

Angel Ellner, libero of Honduras, expressed, “It’s our first international tournament for the team. We are proud to be participating in the tournament. We lack experience, but little by little, we are improving, and tomorrow we will give our all”.

Costa Rica wins roller-coaster against Guatemala in five sets

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 8, 2023. Costa Rica won a roller-coaster battle 3-2 (23-25, 25-7, 23-25, 25-19, 15-8) against Guatemala at the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Championship taking place at Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

This was Costa Rica’s first match, while Guatemala has a 1-1 record in Pool A. The first and second-place teams in the pool advance to the semifinals and qualify for the 2024 FIVB World Championship.

On Thursday, Costa Rica will face the host Mexico, and Guatemala (1-1) has a rest day.

Costa Rica celebrate

Costa Rica’s service (15-6) was a key skill for their victory over Guatemala. Costa Rica also had an advantage in attacks (59-43) and made fewer unforced errors (28-30). Both teams scored 7 points from blocks.

Costa Rica had three players with double digits, led by the middle blocker Julian Soto with 19 points, on 14 kills, 2 blocks, and 2 aces. Outside hitter Deniz Vargas scored 18 points on 15 kills and 3 aces, while opposite hitter Ignacio Morales added 12 points.

Guatemala was led by their captain Luis Mendizabal, the top scorer of the match with 23 points, on  19 kills, 2 blocks, and 2 aces.

Gabriel Córdoba, captain of Costa Rica, said, “We had very consistent preparation, training for seven months, every weekend, and I believe our physical condition was a decisive factor in today’s victory. Tomorrow, we face Mexico, and we’ll give it our all”.

Guatemala’s setter, Juan David Zúñiga, said, “I think our reception failed and there was also an excess of confidence. Tomorrow, we will study and rest to face Mexico on Friday”.

Cuba beats Dominican Republic to set up battle against Puerto Rico

POZA RICA, México, November 8, 2023.- Cuba beat Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-17) to set up battle against Puerto Rico for first place in Pool B at the NORCECA Boys’ U17 Continental Championship that runs from November 7 to 12 at Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

Cuba and Puerto Rico, both undefeated at 2-0, have already secured their spots in semifinals and two of the four tickets to the 2024 FIVB World Championship. Dominican Republic, with 0-2 record, will face Nicaragua (0-2) for the third place in the group.

Cuba’s blocking (11-3) stopped Dominican Republic’s intentions, who started the second and third sets with a four-point advantage. Cuba also finished with a 35-29 advantage in attack points and a 9-5 lead in service points. Cuba scored 20 points on Dominican errors while giving away 15.

Iverson Manuel Toledano CUB

Yosdani Medina was Cuba’s leading scorer with 16 points, on 9 kills, 2 blocks, and a match-high of 5 service points. Middle blocker Iverson Toledano and team captain Byron Herrera contributed 10 points each to Cuba’s victory.

For Dominican Republic, Malik Britton scored 13 kill points, the only player with double digits.

Yosdani Medina of Cuba said, “It was a match of ups and downs; there was a lack of focus. We managed to elevate our game by working as a team, which is our best quality; we are very united. We’re already in the semifinals and want to advance to the gold medal match”.

“During the start of the sets, we had more concentration and motivation, but our team’s morale dropped towards the end, and we lost. We have all the qualities to play better”, said Dominican Malik Britton”.

Nine Teams Face a New Challenge at Boys’ U17 NORCECA

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 6, 2023. – Nine teams are ready to take on a new challenge in the first edition of the Boys’ U17 Volleyball NORCECA Continental Championship from November 7 to 12 at the Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.

The continental tournament will grant the top four teams a ticket to the 2024 FIVB World Championship, marking the debut of this new category on a global level.

Coaches have given their first statements ahead of the competition.

Dom Preliminary Inquiry

Felipe Jenkins, Head Coach of Costa Rica: “We have been working for seven months because the event was originally scheduled for May. We have a valuable group of parents who supported us throughout the year to conduct training camps every 15 days across the country because we have players from different parts of Costa Rica. Our national tournament served each player as practice. We come very well prepared. All the teams here aim to qualify for the World Championship”.

Mari Izquierdo, Head Coach of Cuba: “We bring a 2008 generation with a lot of technical talent and height. These are young players from various provinces that we have been tracking for some time, and they have demonstrated their competitive quality. We hope to qualify for the World Championship, especially when it is the first opportunity to evaluate players for 2030. There is talent, hard work, and a strong desire to reach the goal”.

Victor Bermudez, Head Coach of the Dominican Republic: “We have a lot of faith that the team will have a good result; we will give our best and play good volleyball. This is a new category, and we want the young players to enjoy it without pressure, gaining experience. We’ve had the opportunity to train, and the conditions are optimal for the competition.”

Obed López, Head Coach of Guatemala: “We come excited to compete in this new category. We bring a lot of energy and a positive attitude to perform well while representing Guatemala. The first goal is to qualify for the World Championship, and the second would be to win a medal”.

Alejandro Castillo, Head Coach of Honduras: “The team comes with enthusiasm, passionate about this tournament. We trained for four months, and the team is in good shape. We dream of competing for a fourth place in the tournament”.

Denis Omar Rivera, Head Coach of Mexico: “The team is made up of players who are in high school, and many of them haven’t even competed at a national level, let alone at international level. We are happy and excited about the tournament. Our number one goal is to qualify for the world championship, and we are prepared to accomplish the result”.

Jorge Mena, Head Coach of Nicaragua: “It’s a new challenge, the first time an event in this category. There were difficulties in passport procedures, which is why several players couldn’t make it here. Nicaragua will give their best as always. In addition to our coaching roles, we also serve as mentors in the age category, providing a learning experience for the players in all aspects. We have the advantage that the athletes play in our first division league, which has contributed to their development”.

Carlos Sevilla, Head Coach of Puerto Rico: “Like in all NORCECA tournaments, strong teams are coming, and even though we haven’t been training for long, this is a group of players who typically play in their clubs, some together and others against each other, so they are quite unified despite the short preparation time. Our goal is to finish among the top two teams in Pool B and then make a big effort to reach the final”.

Furgil Ong-A-Fat, Assistant Coach of Suriname: “We’ve prepared for the tournament for several months, and we came to have a good competition, we’re going to give it our best shot. Most of the players are 14-15 years old and a few of them have already competed internationally in our CAZOVA event”.

Inaugural Boys’ Volleyball U17 NORCECA Championship to take place in Poza Rica, Mexico

POZA RICA, Mexico, November 5, 2023.- The Inaugural Boys’ Volleyball U17 NORCECA Championship will take place in Poza Rica, Veracruz, Mexico from November 7-12, with nine teams competing to qualify to the first ever U17 World Championship.

The U17 NORCECA Championship comes in compliance to the qualification process towards the inaugural edition of the FIVB U17 World Championship to be held in 2024,  announced in March.

The event grants four berths to the 2024 FIVB Boys’ U17 World Championship.

The nine teams competing have been divided in two pools, in Pool A: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Suriname; Pool B: Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico.

Preliminary poo-play will qualify the first and second places directly to the semifinals, while third and fourth placed teams will compete in the quarterfinal round.

The preliminary inquiry will take place on November 6, the competition starts on November 7 at Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium.

Preliminary round schedule

Tuesday November 7

14:00     Puerto Rico vs Dominican Republic

16:00     Cuba vs Nicaragua

18:00     Guatemala vs Honduras

20:00     Mexico vs Suriname

Wednesday November 8

14:00     Nicaragua vs Puerto Rico

16:00     Dominican Republic vs Cuba

18:00     Costa Rica vs Guatemala

20:00     Honduras vs Mexico

Thursday November 9

14:00     Dominican Republic vs Nicaragua

16:00     Puerto Rico vs Cuba

18:00     Suriname vs Honduras

20:00     Mexico vs Costa Rica

Friday November 10

10:00     Costa Rica vs Honduras

12:00     Suriname vs Guatemala

18:00     Suriname vs Costa Rica

20:00     Guatemala vs Mexico