Guatemala outplays Suriname..set up gold medal meeting


PARAMARIBO,  SURINAME, Sunday  June 16, 2013: Captain Oscar Daniel Garcia led three players in double-figure scoring as Guatemala put on its best performance in three matches, beating host Suriname 25-17, 25-18, 25-23 to reach the gold medal match in their second round NORCECA Men’s Group M qualifiers to third round of qualification for the 2014 FIVB World Volleyball Championship in Poland.


Going into the final round-robin fixture in the group, Suriname, winners of its two previous matches against Martinique and Anguilla, both by 3-0 margins for maximum ten points lead ahead of Martinique (2-1) based on a better points differential ratio while Guatemala had five points from two matches and needed nothing less than a straight sets win to have a chance of a top two finish and a spot in the final.


Garcia led from the front as he tallied 12 points, nine of which were spikes and three blocks while Andy Blanco and Jeyson Flores each got ten points in the entertaining encounter which lasted one hour, and 20 minutes infront of another lively and appreciative crowd.


The Guatemalans, who outscored the host on spikes 44-38 and blocks 7-2 also committed less errors, 12-21 in the must win encounter to the delight of coach, Cuban Reider Lucas.


For Suriname, which suffered its first loss in the process,  Keven Sporkslede, who has been used mainly off the bench due to injury led all scorers with 18 points, inclusive of 15 spikes and two blocks while Gino Naarden got nine and captain, Roberto Frits Joval six.


With the win, Guatemala joined Suriname and Martinique with 2-1 records at the end of their four-team round-robin series and ten points each, and identical sets won to set loss ratios of 6-3 while Anguilla ended 0-3 and without a point and a sets won to sets loss record of 0-9.

This meant the top  two teams needed to be decided on the points won to point loss ratio which saw Suriname’s 1.231 saw it top the table ahead of fellow finalist Guatemala (1.214) while Martinique (1.121) was third and faces Anguilla for bronze.


Commenting after the match, Joval said his Suriname team was over confident in their approach to the match.


He added, “We knew Guatemala would come into the match with their all because they needed to win to have a chance to reach the final. We did not have the best of starts in the match as compared to the other two matches, and even though we improved in the third set, it was not enough.


Looking ahead to the final against the same opponents, Joval said his team will need to improve on all aspects of its game that was lacking in the loss.


An elated Garcia was quick to admit it was the best match of the tournament for his team so far in the tournament and it has given his team a lot of confidence ahead of the gold medal match.


“We knew we needed to win by 3-0 to have  a chance to reach the final, so we played harder than in the other matches and for the final we want to play event better.’


 Jerry Slijngard, Suriname’s coach admitted his team did not have a good match spiking wise and vows to improve for the final.


“We have seen where we need to improve for the finals and I can assure you it will be a different battle.


“From the start of the match we knew we could have sealed top spot in the group by winning one set which would have also eliminated Guatemala and give us another opponent in the final.


But we did not achieve that and now we must play better against the same opponent to win the lone spot to the third round.


Reider Lucas, the Cuban-born coach of Guatemala said it was a much better performance from his team than in their two previous matches and in the final he hopes they put on a much better game to win and qualify for the third round.