Cuba utilized all its men against Guatemala to achieve a comfortable 3-0 win (25-17, 25-18, 25-13) at the close of the opening day of the Norceca Tournament Sub-21 (M) qualifier to the FIVB 2019 World Championship at the Sports City Coliseum, where no surprise occurred.
The local team outscored the Central American team in all departments with advantages of 41-13 in attacks, 11-4 in blocking and 7-1 in services in the shortest match of the day and in which the three sets lasted curiously 23 minutes each.
The wing spiker José M. Gutiérrez was the top scorer (11), escorted by also wing spiker Julio Cárdenas and the opposite José Romero, both with 10 units.
On the opponent side only scored three players, which plus the opposite Edgar Maldonado with only 7 points and two other players added 11, but the Guatemalans raised their total to 48 with the 30 that Cuba gave them due to unforced errors.
Jesus Cruz, host coach, explained that "for his debut the team moved well, in these young people there are factors that influence too much like pre-start and stress, and they knew how to cope, always respecting the opposite and playing at the level we know how to do. In the third we made more mistakes, but the 12 entered the field, which we proposed to be released and to beat rivals like the United States and Canada, tall, skilled, who play well and thus meet the goal of winning the gold".
Christian Thondike, local captain: Although we are not at the maximum the selection acted well, but we will raise our level. Guatemala did not really resist us, it does not have a lot of level, but we have to try to play hard because we have two rivals like the United States and Canada ahead of us that we must beat."
Luis F. Castañeda, Guatemalan technical director: It was a beautiful match, we came with a team with eight players under 19 and they need to play hard, we work well, Cuba is a power, a lot of height, on the contrary ours, but we did our job that was do a number of points and we did it, we are happy and we hope to do better for the remaining matches."
The setter Diego Andrés Ralón, captain of the Central American team, said that "it is a great opportunity to always play with a world power team and we have come to do what we know. The serve of Cuba is very powerful, very different from ours, but I feel that in the first two sets we managed to keep them making attack points, we blocked a couple of balls and that gives us expectations to try to qualify for the quarterfinals."
On Tuesday Group A features Dominican Republic-Guatemala (12:00) and Cuba-Barbados (18:00) and in Group B, Canada-Nicaragua (2:00 pm) and United States-Haiti (4:00 pm).