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

Cuba Needed Five Sets to Defeat Guatemala in the NORCECA U21 Opener
Fecha de publicación: 
12 June 2024
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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.

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.

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”.

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