Chile to semifinals with epic win over Cuba at U18 Pan Am Cup

DURANGO, Mexico, May 24, 2019. - Chile to semifinals with epic 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 25-27, 25-20) over Cuba at the U18 Girls’ Pan American Cup in Auditorio del Pueblo of Durango, Mexico.

Chile won the quarterfinal pushing aside Cuba’s possibilities to clinch one of the two available tickets to the FIVB World Championship in Egypt. Chile is ready to feature in Saturday’s semifinals waiting for the result of the other quarterfinal.

Cuban were out unrecognizable while everything went well for Chile in the first set, surprising Cuba reaching both technical time-outs on top  (8-3, 16-8); nevertheless Chile lost four set points before moving ahead in the score. The second set was tougher, but Chile did not lose their momentum holding off Cuba’s recovery and finishing the set with two service points. Cuba finally stabilized their game, showing their usual rhythm; still Chile came from behind (13-16) to even the score to 20 points and extending Cuba’s dramatic finish. Chile did not lose focus; they kept their system in blocking and serving only to dominate Cuba who remained full of errors.

Chile came on top with 12-10 margin in blocks, 11-7 in serves and scoring on 48 Cuban errors. Cuba did better in spikes with a 39-29 advantage and benefiting from 27 Chilean errors.

Chile used a balanced scoring attack between Colomba Gonzalez with 13 points and three players, Gabriela Badilla, María Jesus Muñoz and Constanza Silva that contributed with 10 points apiece. Thalia Moreno led all scorers with 18 points, the only Cuban with double figures.

María de Jesús Muñóz, Chilean captain was really excited to advance to the semifinals and leaving Cuba out of any possibility to qualifying to Worlds, “Chile performed well in serves, our coach told where to serve and that’s exactly what we did, added to our good defense and mostly our attacks. We remained focused, and instead of celebrating when we were up we knew we had to stay calm and have the mind on the game”.

Eduardo Guillaume Chile’s coach said his opinion about this important victory, “prior to the match we were aware that Cuba is a team that’s one or two steps above us. But we spoke during our technical meeting, the girls are always practicing and one day our improvement was going to show and today’s celebration is well deserved. It can’t be that always when we face a team above us we lose. I am really happy for the team, this is good for Chile. Our team played orderly, serving and blocking strong”.