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Guatemala earns third in Group B at U21 men's championship 


GATINEAU, Canada, July 7, 2016 – Guatemala drew deep for an inspired effort to wrest third place in Group B at the U21 NORCECA Men's Continental Championship, defeating Trinidad and Tobago 3-0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-17).


The result grants Guatemala a quarterfinal matchup against Barbados at 8 p.m. Friday at Centre Sportif de Gatineau. Trinidad and Tobago will play in the 6/7 classification game on Sunday.


Guatemala (1-2) was spurred by a match-high 13 points, including nine kills, from captain Erik Flores, while Carlos Lopez scored 11 and Wagner Chacon contributed nine. For Trinidad and Tobago (0-3), captain Marlon Phillips had 13 points (including 12 kills from a whopping 50 attacks) while Adriel Roberts had 13 (including 10 kills from 16 attacks). The story of the match was composure, as Trinidad and Tobago conceded 30 points on errors while Guatemala allowed 17.


“Just in the beginning, we were nervous,”Guatemala middle blocker Ricardo Mendoza, who had six points, said.“We know how we can play ... Once things started to go our way, we grew more confident.”


The first set was tight, with Guatemala wresting control after leading just 16-15 at the second technical timeout. In the second, a big block on Phillip that led to winning a long rally and going ahead 12-7 seemed to be the point where Guatemala gained separation. For the Central American team, reaching the medal round is an important stepping-stone in their development.


“We are not adapted to this tournament level, but in every game we are getting more comfortable,” Guatemala coach Reider Lucas said.“We are very happy. If we get victory tomorrow, we know that we will be playing in the semifinals.”


Trinidad and Tobago converted on only 23 of 84 attacks, which was far less efficient than Guatemala's 35-of-80.


“We didn’t play at all today,”Trinidad coach Gideon Dickson said. “I think we were overconfident and complacent. Congratulations to Team Guatemala on their win.”


Once the first set slipped away from Trinidad and Tobago, it was unable to correct its course.


“I’m very disappointed,” Phillip said. “I don’t know, but we were just not playing today – we had a bad game. We need better communication on the court and we have to score more points.”


Guatemala's Luis Santa Cruz was credited with a match-high four digs.