The action does not stop at the house of Peruvian volleyball that, after being the stage of the U21 Pan American Cup, from Monday 13 will receive the U20 Women's Pan American Cup - Herbalife Cup, the last qualifying event to the World Women's Volleyball Championship to be held next July in Mexico.
Seven delegations will say present in this sporting event that reaches its fifth edition. The host, Peru, and Dominican Republic arrive with the secure classification, thanks to their current position in the Ranking of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), the direct dispute will be between: Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras and Puerto Rico.
The coaches of the participating countries promise to battle, and take advantage of every minute of play, each set, each match to reach their goals and have a thermometer that will allow them to adjust their work plan for the coming months:
Chile, Eduardo Guillaume: With this group we are doing a long-term job. We bring a high and strong team but we do not set so short-term goals as to qualify for the World Championship, if the opportunity presents itself hopefully we will achieve it, but this is a team that will represent us in the XIX Pan American Games of 2023 to be held in Santiago, Chile.
Cuba, Tomás Fernández: We bring a young team, but with responsibility and full of emotion, which marks a new process that the Federation gave me after the bad work in the Central American Games. We are here with a clear objective, the quota to the World Championship because it is the intermediate competition that we need for the development of our athletes.
Guatemala, William Fernández: For this competition we have come with a team from U18, our main goal will be to gain experience for the U18 Pan American Cup to be held in Mexico. The contest will be close, but it will help us strengthen our serve and reinforce the team's unity.
Honduras, Caterine Leiva: We are very excited and nervous about what is coming, we know that the challenge in a Pan-American is great, with power equipment to which we will try to stand firm and make a good game, in order to improve our level for the Central American Under 20 and Under 23.
Peru, Natalia Málaga: Half of the girls in this group are from U18, who will take this championship in preparation for the World Championship. The team has been working very well, doing a physical job and reinforcing the reception and serves. Knowing that we are already classified, what is coming is a big challenge, because we want to be back among the first ones and then continue climbing.
Puerto Rico, Juan Carlos Rodríguez: We bring a young team, which has been working for five months and that are preparing for their goal tournament which is the U18 Pan American Cup. We know that the race for the World Championship is very tight, but in the same way each game will serve as lesson.
Dominican Republic, Cristian Cruz: The core of the team that we bring comes from the championship with his club in the Superior League of Santo Domingo, it comes with a lot of experience and games; That helps us a lot, we will continue working towards the World Championship and to improve the position of the last edition, we will try to reach the Top 5.
Cuba defeats Canada and takes its first gold medal
Cuba team showed why they are number one in the U21 World Ranking, and on Saturday they beat Canada with a resounding 3-0, to claim their first gold medal in four editions of the U21 Men's Volleyball Pan American Cup.
The score in favor of the Cuban team was 25-19, 25-22, 29-27 in 1 hour 37 minutes of exciting game action at the Manuel Bonilla Coliseum of Miraflores.
In the first quarter the Cuban attack did not find a rival blockade, and although both teams pressed from the serving area, the Cubans were better in attack. The next two sets were tighter, but Cuba was not willing to give up a set, took out the best of their defense and with greater concentration in their plays took the gold.
The Cubans José Romero and José Gutiérrez were again the most outstanding figures of their team with 14 and 13 points respectively. Xander Ketrzynski, opposite of Canada, was the leading scorer of the match with 18 units.
Cuba held a slight advantage in attack (35-32) and blocking (6-5), but the Canadians outscored them him in services (11-8). The winners registered 20 unforced errors and 30 losers.
Jesús Cruz, coach of Cuba: We did not expect it to be a 3-0 match. In the last sets they put more pressure on us, but I am glad that the boys responded and we are happy to stay with the gold medal in a competition that gathered delegations of both levels, it was an important learning process ahead of what waits for us in the World.
Julio Gomez, Cuban captain: We are very happy for the 3-0 victory, closing the competition without losing a set has been a great responsibility, but we were prepared for the challenge and we proved it.
Adam Simac, coach of Canada: We knew them from when we played last year, but the teams we had played with up to this point had not been as big as Cuba's; the first set was a bit tight. In the second and third set we had many opportunities, maybe a little nervous but each one of the guys gave the fight. I am very happy with my team, they did very well.
Cuba has accumulated 3 silver and 2 bronze medals at the U21 World Championship so far; and in the last edition held in 2017 in the Czech Republic, they finished in second place after falling to Poland in straight sets in the final. For its part, Canada does not have medals in the U21 World Championship and in this 2019 will seek to improve the eighth place they occupied in the Czech Republic 2017.
U21 Pan Am Cup Podium Positions:
Year Gold Silver Bronze
2011 VEN CAN CHI
2015 BRA USA CAN
2017 BRA CUB CAN
2019 CUB CAN PUR
José Romero CUB
Julio Gómez CUB
1er Outside Hitter:
Julio Cardenas CUB
2nd Outside Hitter:
José Gutierrez CUB
1st Middle Blocker:
Leiner Aponza COL
2nd Middle Blocker:
Luis López COL
Xander Ketrzynski CAN
Garland Peed USA
Ryan Wilcox USA
Landon Currie CAN
Xander Ketrzynski CAN
Brett Wildman USA