SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, August 3, 2014 – Cuba won its fifth crown in the history of the NORCECA Men’s U21 Continental Championship with a 29-27, 25-21, 25-21 victory over Canada at Palacio de los Deportes of San Salvador on Sunday night.
Both finalists were secured of tickets to next year’s FIVB World Championship to take place in Mexico.
Cuba claimed the title in 2000 and the won three consecutive editions of the biennial tournament in 2004, 2006 and 2008. The United States team, which finished third this time, had won the last two competitions.
Osmany Uriarte and Abrahan Alfonso were the top offensive weapons of Cuba producing 20 and 15 points, respectively. Osniel Rendon contributed 10 tallies.
Blake Scheenrhorn led Canada with 11 points while Ryan Nickifor and Jeffrey Ardon had 9 and 8 points, respectively, in the losing effort.
Cuba led in attacks 48-30 while Canada topped in blocks 7-4. Both teams scored three aces and the winners committed 29 errors to 24 by the losers.
Ricardo Calvo, Captain of Cuba: “I have to congratulate both teams for today’s game. We had everything worked well since we were in Havana. We started with some anxiety, but overcame it. I had a lot of confidence in my teammates. It was a great final and both teams played well.”
Pavel Pimienta, Coach of Cuba: “The first set defined the game. The boys came in a little bit pressed, but then got loose and played their game. We made mistakes, especially with the serves but as the match went on they were more relaxed and confident.”
Ryan Nickifor, Captain of Canada: “We played with a lot of energy from the start of the first set, but then the pace slowed down. In the next two sets we were not able to recover.”
John Barrett, Coach of Canada: “They (Cuba) took advantage of the opportunities. By winning the first set their confidence picked up. In the second set we played better the second half, but it was too late. I saw a lot of progress in our team. I think they can play better and we will work one year ahead of the World Championship.”