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Cuba overpowers Canada to capture world championship berth


FORT MCMURRAY, Canada, May 20, 2017 – Cuba qualified to the U21 FIVB World Championship after defeating hosts Canada to reach the gold-medal match at the age-group Pan American Cup at the Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre at Keyano College in Fort McMurray.


The Cubans overcame Canada 3-1 (19-25, 25-22. 25-18, 25-19) in Saturday’s semi-final.


“We are very happy because we qualified for the World Championships,” stated Adrian Goide captain of the Cuban team. “We expected to win.”


Osniel Melgarejo and Miguel Lopez has 18 points each for Cuba.  Miguel Gutierrez contributed five aces.


Organized in the first set, Canada looked strong to win by by six points.  However, Cuba was not content to let the host country run away with a World Championship berth.  Although Canada led by four late into the second set, Cuba eventually won the second by three, and didn’t really look back from that point.


“I think we played well, but at the end we missed some passes and made other mistakes, and against a team like Cuba, there is no mercy,” said Canada’s head coach Gino Brousseau. “I saw my players getting tired toward the end – it’s been a long tournament, but I’m proud of them because they fought really hard.”


Sharone Vernon-Evans had 18 points for Canada, while Eric Loeppky had 17, with three aces.


Canada’s coach continued:  “We told them Cuba would come out strong, as they did last year, and this year we were ready for it. We were more prepared for Cuba this year, but unfortunately did not win the match.”


Cuba now plays for gold against Brazil, and Canada for bronze against Guatemala on Sunday (May 21).