Cuba took down Guatemala, 25-14, 25-12, 25-13 in their Pool B match on Monday at the NORCECA Boys’ Under-19 Continental Championship at the Cox Business Center Arena.
Cuba (1-0) will play Barbados (0-1) at 2 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Guatemala (0-1) will face Mexico (1-0) at 4 p.m.
Cuba dominated the match statistics, leading in kills (28-19), blocks (11-4) and aces (10-1). Cuba took advantage of 26 Guatemala errors while committing 15.
Cuba’s Miguel Gutierrez led all scorers with 21 points on a match-high 14 kills, two blocks and a match-high five aces. Ismel Palayo added 11 points on seven attacks, three blocks and one ace.
Wagner Chacon and Erik Flores each scored seven points for Guatemala. Chacon scored on five kills, one block and one ace. Flores scored on five attacks and two blocks.
Cuba Captain Daikel Fernandez Luna: “We have been practicing very hard in the last year. That was the key. Our group is very tight. We played well enough to win. We didn’t play our best, but we played well enough to win.”
Cuba Coach Roberto Garcia: “The first match is always very important because it is the opening of the tournament. Congratulations to my team. Congratulations to Guatemala.”
Guatemala Captain Henry Leon: “I think we made many errors. We started well, but we couldn’t handle the pressure of the game and we committed unforced errors. Our game went down and Cuba’s started going up. They’re strong. We knew it would be a tough start. We just did the best we could”
Guatemala Coach Aldan Alvinzi Palaez: “Guatemala won the Central American Championship, but these players have not played very much together. We need more practice. Two of our players could not come due to visa issues and they were very important players. We knew Cuba was a very tough team to play against. They have a great level of volleyball. We knew we had to play our best to win as many points as possible. “