Cuba beats Dominican Republic in Men’s Pan American Cup debut
GATINEAU, Canada, July 25, 2017 - Cuba played to a successful
debut at the 12th Men’s Pan American Cup with a
four-set (25-17, 25-22, 21-25 and 25-22) win over the Dominican
Republic in over an hour and a half of play at Gatineau’s Robert
Guertin Arena in Canada’s capital region.
The youngest team of the tournament, featuring seven players
from the 2017 Men’s U21 World Championships silver medal winning
squad, got off to a solid start, taking the first two sets,
before their Caribbean rivals bounced to narrow the lead with a
25-21 victory in the third set.
Cuba came back and kept an early lead in the fourth set. The
Dominican Republic closed the gap to a two-point lead, but Cuba
prevailed with a 25-22 win to secure the match.
Miguel Angel Lopez led the Cuban attack with 23 points. He was
also supported by Miguel David Gutierrez (18), the best opposite
of the 2017 Men’s U21 World Championships. The Dominican
Republic mostly relied on Henry Lopez (16 points), Elvis
Contrera and Jose Caceres, who produced 14 each.
Nicolas Vives, Cuban coach: “They played well. They are starting
to regain their rhythm. We have a blend of U21 and older
players. We have been working together for 15 days only and we
need to work on communication and other aspects of the game. If
we play good quality volleyball and stay focused, we can do well
Orlando Samuel, Dominican Republic’s coach: “For us the match
was very difficult because we didn’t play since two years ago.
They need to play more and fit together as a team, but this is
normal. The Cubans are young, but they have played in many
tournaments and even so they made a lot of mistakes too. We
have to look forward and get better every day, and try to
qualify for World League.”