Brazil wins fourth gold medal


GUADALAJARA, Mexico, October 20, 2011 – World number 1 Brazil won its fourth Pan American Games gold medal in women’s volleyball by prevailing against Cuba 3-2 (25-15, 21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-10) in a thriller played in front of a packed house at Avila Camacho Sport Complex in Guadalajara on Thursday night.


The South American team had also claimed the title in the editions of 1959, 1963 and 1999 in Chicago, Sao Paulo and Winnipeg respectively. For the eight-time champions Cuba it was its third silver medal in the history of the event.


The victory was a sweet revenge for the Brazilian squad which lost to Cuba, also in five sets, four years ago when the competition took place at home in Rio de Janeiro.


“By winning the Pan American Games gold medal we did something important for our country and this generation,” Coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes said. “It was a very tough match against a Cuban team that played very good.”


“Cuba is a very young team that must improve its game for the Olympic Games,” he added. “We lost the fourth set, but in the tie-break, everything worked since the very beginning. The most important thing is that this was a team victory.”


Sheila Castro and Mari Steinbrecher each contributed 15 points to the victory while Fabiana Claudino added 13. Other Brazilians in double digits were Paula Pequeno and Fernanda Rodrigues with 11 apiece.


Cubans Yoana Palacios and Kenia Carcaces each scored 18 points while Yusidey Silie and Ana Cleger added 12 and 10 respectively.


“Brazil is a great team and we went out to defend the crown we won four years ago,” Cuba’s Juan Carlos Gala said. “We had stated that we would battle point by point and we did it. This experience will help us to see what we need to improve. Our team could recover after a tough start. I am happy with this medal, is a silver medal that tastes like gold because I saw a very young team that played a wonderful match.”