Puerto Rico blanks Canada to take first win of Pan Am Cup
GATINEAU, Canada, July 26, 2017 -
Puerto Rico posted a surprising win over hosts Canada on
Wednesday in Pool B play at the 12th Men’s Pan
American Cup at Gatineau’s Robert Guertin Arena in Canada’s
capital region. They blanked the host country in three sets
(25-21, 25-16 and 25-22).
Puerto Rico, a two-time medallist at
this continental event, aims to reach the podium for the first
time since 2010.
Both teams started evenly, but the
Islanders took a narrow 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout.
They stayed in front 16-14 and despite some serving errors,
Maurice Torres’ hard hitting paved the way for way for the first
set victory 25-21.
Puerto Ricans kept the momentum early
in the second set 8-5, thanks to a good defense and block. Pablo
Guzman led the attack and the duo of Steve Morales and Maurice
Torres blocked the tall Canadian spikers to take the second set
Canada made some changes in their
starting six in the third set, but the inspired Puerto Rican
side maintained a good quality play to take the lead 8-5.
Sequiel Sanchez’s hitting and blocking kept his team in front
Torres increased the gap from the
service line and hitting. With the score 21-14, Puerto Rico’s
coach brought three new players from the bench. The local squad
did not give up. With a solid defense, attack and a tall block
by with Brandon Koppers, Jordan McConkey and Byron Keturakis,
they put themselves back in contention 21-22.
But the Caribbean squad found the
edge with Torres and Morales blocking again to seal the victory
25-22 after almost one hour and a half of play.
Maurice Torres and Sequiel Sanchez
were the top scorers for Puerto Rico with 14 and 13 points,
respectively. Danny Demyanenko totaled six for Canada.
The result leaves Argentina alone on
top in Group B with two wins. Puerto Rico plays Venezuela and
Canada meets Argentina on Thursday on the final day of the
Larry McKay, coach of Canada: “We
didn’t play well and they were better than us in every aspect of
the game. The score is pretty indicative of the better team
Ramón Hernández, coach of Puerto
Rico: “We had a great performance against a really good team, so
I feel really proud of the effort of our team today. We stayed
aggressive throughout the whole match, we knew it was going to
be a tough opponent. We served hard and we stayed disciplined in
our strategy and it worked out for us tonight.”
Edgardo Goas, captain of Puerto Rico:
“We controlled our serving pretty well. Yesterday we struggled
with our reception and today we did really well in that aspect.
Pablo Guzman came into the starting line-up and did a great job,
and overall it was a good team effort. I think a lot of the
teams are pretty evenly matched and a lot of the teams have
great serving, so we have to be ready for that at this