Cuba defeats Canada and takes its first gold medal


LIMA, Peru, May 11, 2019 - Cuba team showed why they are number one in the U21 World Ranking, and on Saturday they beat Canada with a resounding 3-0, to claim their first gold medal in four editions of the U21 Men's Volleyball Pan American Cup.


The score in favor of the Cuban team was 25-19, 25-22, 29-27 in 1 hour 37 minutes of exciting game action at the Manuel Bonilla Coliseum of Miraflores.


In the first quarter the Cuban attack did not find a rival blockade, and although both teams pressed from the serving area, the Cubans were better in attack. The next two sets were tighter, but Cuba was not willing to give up a set, took out the best of their defense and with greater concentration in their plays took the gold.


The Cubans José Romero and José Gutiérrez were again the most outstanding figures of their team with 14 and 13 points respectively. Xander Ketrzynski, opposite of Canada, was the leading scorer of the match with 18 units.


Cuba held a slight advantage in attack (35-32) and blocking (6-5), but the Canadians outscored them him in services (11-8). The winners registered 20 unforced errors and 30 losers.


Jesús Cruz, coach of Cuba: We did not expect it to be a 3-0 match. In the last sets they put more pressure on us, but I am glad that the boys responded and we are happy to stay with the gold medal in a competition that gathered delegations of both levels, it was an important learning process ahead of what waits for us in the World.


Julio Gomez, Cuban captain: We are very happy for the 3-0 victory, closing the competition without losing a set has been a great responsibility, but we were prepared for the challenge and we proved it.


 Adam Simac, coach of Canada: We knew them from when we played last year, but the teams we had played with up to this point had not been as big as Cuba's; the first set was a bit tight. In the second and third set we had many opportunities, maybe a little nervous but each one of the guys gave the fight. I am very happy with my team, they did very well.


Cuba has accumulated 3 silver and 2 bronze medals at the U21 World Championship so far; and in the last edition held in 2017 in the Czech Republic, they finished in second place after falling to Poland in straight sets in the final. For its part, Canada does not have medals in the U21 World Championship and in this 2019 will seek to improve the eighth place they occupied in the Czech Republic 2017.


U21 Pan Am Cup Podium Positions:


Year     Gold     Silver   Bronze

2011     VEN      CAN       CHI

2015     BRA      USA       CAN

2017     BRA      CUB       CAN

2019     CUB      CAN       PUR


Individual Awards


José Romero CUB


Julio Gómez CUB

1er Outside Hitter:

Julio Cardenas CUB

2nd Outside Hitter:

José Gutierrez CUB

1st Middle Blocker:

Leiner Aponza COL

2nd Middle Blocker:

Luis López COL

Opposite Hitter:

Xander Ketrzynski CAN


Garland Peed USA

Best Receiver:

Ryan Wilcox USA

Best Digger:

Landon Currie CAN

Best Server:

Xander Ketrzynski CAN

Best Scorer:

Brett Wildman USA