Guatemala cools Suriname for Pool M gold


PARAMARIBO, Suriname,  June 16, 2013 - Jeyson Flores and captain Oscar Daniel Garcia led a short-handed but balanced Guatemala attack to a hard fought 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 24-26, 25-21) triumph over hosts Suriname to take the gold medal  of the NORCECA Second Round Group M of Men’s Qualifiers to the 2014 FIVB World Volleyball Championship in Poland.


Less than 12 hours earlier, Guatemala had also defeated the host country 3-0 to reach the final, and once there, the Reider Lucas-coached Central Americans withstood a determined challenge from the host, winning the critical points to secure their lone automatic ticket from the group to the third round.


Flores and Garcia, both ended with 15 points which included 14 and 12 spikes respectively, while the latter also had three blocks in the marathon encounter which lasted two hours and 13 minutes.


The duo of Moises Santos and Andy Blanco also chipped in with ten points each, Brandon Franco eight, and Gerardo Paz six, for the Guatemalans who despite having only nine players and being shorter in height went toe-to-toe in spikes, 55-each, while being out blocked 14-2 and overwhelmed in service aces, 4-2.


However, where the Guatemalans lacked in power, they made up with accuracy as they only committed 19 errors to Suriname’s 32, which proved vital in the end result.


For Suriname which was in with a chance to win each of the other sets, but faltered in the closing stages. Gino Naarden with 23 points, comprising 21 spikes and Keven Sporkslede, with 22, inclusive of 18 spikes, were the game’s top two scorers.


The trio of captain, Roberto Joval, Clyde Fraser and Marc Flu with seven, six and six points respectively also did their best to give Suriname the win, but in the end they came up short.

Suriname, despite losing the match still has a chance to qualify for the second round, but will only do so as one of the four best second placed teams from the six groups based on the NORCECA rankings at the end of January 2014.


Speaking afterwards, Joval admitted that Guatemala played a very strong match overall and put its best effort out, but just could not get the win.


With respect to failing to seize the chances given when the sets were very close, Joval said he thinks his team did have the fighting spirit mentally to overcome a very determined Guatemala side. “We lacked that killer instinct needed to close out the sets,” he said.


Garcia said he was very proud to be captain of the Guatemala team because of what the team had accomplished.


“From the match we played against Suriname in the morning we knew the final was going to be very tough and we prepared well and executed our game plan.


Jerry Slijngard, Suriname’s coach said his team would have like to the overall winners but unfortunately his players’ best effort on the night was not good enough for a very good Guatemala team.


“For us it’s all part of a learning experience. We have a young team and there is a lot of room for improvement.”


Reider Lucas, the Cuban-born coach of Guatemala first congratulated both teams on a well fought match.


Lucas noted that he was happy that his team played with a lot of heart and effort and was able to do all the little technical things correctly to get the win.


“We knew that from the first match against Suriname we needed to improve on the little things and we did that.


Lucas also credited his team’s preparations for the tournament as a key to their victory.