Three pairs with two victories in Varadero

VARADERO, Cuba, July 14, 2017 – Three men’s teams of the fourteen taking part in competition scored two victories in opening day of the fourth stop of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit at Barcelo Solymar Arenas Blancas Hotel.

Jeremy Casebeer/John Mayer of USA-B defeated compatriots Skylar del Sol/Jon Mesko of USA-B 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) and Cuba-D of debutants Daniel Duran/Hermes Quevedo 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-10) to lead Pool D.

Other teams who dominated in both outings were in Pool C, Rosso Bonneau/Fecteau-Boutin of Canada-A and Luis Reyes/José Luis Aguilera of Cuba-C, the latter in their first international experience, who swept the teams of Suriname and Guatemala.

The champions of the three previous stops, Karell Peña/Daisel Quesada of Cuba-B defeated Ruben Mora/Dany Lopez of Nicaragua 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) and the Dominicans Victor Castillo/William Sanchez over the same Central Americans 2-0 (27-25, 21-14) in the only matches in Pool B.

One of the teams favored to win the gold, Sergio Gonzalez and Nivaldo Díaz of Cuba-A didn’t have problems in Pool A to sweep Sylvester Hodge Penny/Rohan Jeffers of St Kitts and Nevis 2-0 (21-11, 21-10) in 27 minutes.

The latter were also victims of Fiodar Kazhamiaka/Sergey Grabovsky of Canada-B by scores of 21-11, 21-7 so they will face on Saturday the fifth placed at the Olympics of Rio 2016 to close the preliminary phase ahead of the quarterfinals.

Men’s Results on Friday:

Pool A: CAN-B d SKN-A 2-0 (21-11, 21-7); CUB-A d SKN 2-0 (21-11, 21-10).

Pool B: DOM d NCA 2-0 (27-25, 21-14); CUB-B d NCA 2-0 (21-15, 21-15).

Pool C: CUB-C d SUR 2-0 (21-17, 21-10); CAN-A a GUA 2-0 (21-19, 21-17); CUB-C d GUA 2-0 (21-14, 21-19); CAN-A d SUR 2-0 (21-7, 21-13).

Pool D: USA-B d USA-A 2-0 (21-19, 21-16); CUB-D d CRC 2-0 (21-16, 21-14); USA-A d CRC 2-0 (21-9, 21-8); USA-B d CUB-D 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-10).

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Men’s Poreč medalists upset in Gstaad

There might not have been a medal hangover for Sarah Pavan but try telling that to all three of the men’s medalists from Poreč who suffered shock defeats in the pool play in Gstaad today.

It was 13 unlucky for the Poreč champions from Brazil Pedro Solberg and Guto Carvalhaes as they went down in straights to last year’s Mexican Olympians Ontiveros/Virgen 16-21, 19-21. The defeat ended a run of 12 successive wins for the South American duo who had to battle through country quota and qualification for a second tournament running.

For the silver medalists on the Croatian coast, Italians Lupo/Nicolai, it got from bad to worse as they suffered a second successive defeat in the mountains. They might have ended the Poreč Major with a medal but the pair were disappointed with their final set against Pedro Solberg/Guto – and their bad form has continued here as the lost again on Thursday to Chilean cousins Estaban and Marco Grimalt.

For Poreč Major bronze medalists and Olympic champions Alison/Bruno they went down to a surprise straight sets defeat to Cubans Nivaldo/Gonzalez. The men from the Caribbean were in awesome form as they destroyed the Brazilians in just 34 minutes. Nivaldo/Gonzalez restricted their illustrious opponents to just 13 points in an incredible first set. And they cruised to victory, and secured a place in the elimination round by winning the second 21-19.

The Brazilians now face Swiss pair Beeler/Krattiger on Center Court on Friday needing to win to stay in the competition.

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Gutierrez saves Cuba’s semifinal hopes

Miguel David Gutierrez was once again the driving force in Cuba’s success at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship. In their last match of the second stage of the tournament, the Cubans claimed a hard-fought 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 24-26, 27-25) victory over China to keep alive their chances for making the semifinals.

Gutierrez hammered out 24 points to become the best scorer of the match. His teammate Miguel Angel Lopez and China’s Yuantai Yu were next on the chart with 20 points each. After China’s out-of-this-world blocking performance on Wednesday, on Thursday it was their opponents who defeated them with their own weapon – 14 kill blocks, with Jose Israel Masso responsible for as many as six.
The match started well for China, but between the two technical time-outs Cuba came back from behind to take the lead and cruise on to a 25-21 win. The Cuban spikers became even more efficient in the second set to keep their team in the lead, but the Asian squad made sure to stay close behind – 25-23 in favour of Cuba. The Caribbean team reached match point at 24-23 in the third set, but the Chinese reacted with three in a row to take the set and stay alive. They saved three more set points for Cuba in the fourth set, but on the fourth one they surrendered against the double block of Javier Octavio Concepcion and Miguel David Gutierrez.
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Melgajero, Masso and Yang erect Cuban wall for Iran

Some fantastic blocking effort, led by Osniel Lazaro Melgarejo, Jose Israel Masso and Marlon Yang, lay the foundation of Cuba’s first win in Pool E of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship.

Cuba piled up as many as 17 kill blocks on the way to a 3-2 (25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 13:25, 15-8) victory over Iran’s fighting squad, with Melgarejo topping the overall scorers’ chart of the match with 20 points.

Cuba’s great blocking and fewer mistakes made up for Iran’s efficient spiking and led to a 25-22 win in the first set. This continued in the second set as the Caribbean team doubled their lead after 25-23. In the third set Iran were able to cope better with the Cuban blocking. With Shayan Shahsavand also chipping in with three aces, the Asian squad won the set by 25-19. Led by captain Rasoul Aghchehli, it was the Iranian blockers that made the big difference in the fourth set, which their team won by a landslide – 25-13. The tie-breaker was also one-sided, but Cuba’s way. With Melgarejo on fire, the Cubans broke way to a 15-8 win and stamped the victory.

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Pool phase closes successfully in Tijuana and Mexicali at FIVB Men's U21

The pool phase closed successfully in both venues, the High Performance Centre and the State Auditorium at FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship.

Russia had another unstoppable performance. This time the defending champions won in three sets against the United States and closed as leader in Pool B.

The team coached by Mkhail Nikolaev showed a dominant and powerful performance by winning with scores of 25-17, 25-17 and 25-15. Maxim Belogortcev and Sergei Pirainen scored 10 points apiece for the Russian team while Jeffrey Jendryk closed with 9 for The United States.

Brazil 3-1 China
Brazilians were also among the teams that kept their undefeated streak on the first round. The squad coached by Leonardo Carvalho prevailed over China in four sets, after the Asians had a third set comeback. Scores were 26-24, 25-22, 23-25 and 25-22. Libin Liu scored 17 points for China as best scorer of the match, followed by Zhejia Zhang with 15, the same number of points tallied by Brazilian Rodrigo Leao, while Douglas Souza finished with 14 as well as Caio Oliveira.

Brazilian defense was key with 39 digs registered during the match, despite the 13-7 blocking advantage managed by China. Brazil also closed with 10 collective aces against 6 by China.

Turkey 3-0 Egypt

In Tijuana Turkey clinched a berth to the next round at FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship and even got the honors to finish the first phase as one of the most consistent teams. Actions on Sunday began with the Turkish victory over Egypt (30-28, 25-15, 25-18). Yasin Aydin commanded the actions for Turkey by totalizing 16 points, while Osman Cagatay Durmaz closed with 8. Saad Ahmed scored 11 for Egypt, while Mohamed Seliman finished with 6.

Slovenia 3-2 France
Slovenia showed their quality as part of the best European teams of the competition by defeating France 3-2 (25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 23-25, 20-18).

Ziga Donik registered 22 points for the Slovenian squad, while Toncek Stern tallied 19. Jan Kozamernik had 15 points and Matej Kök scored 13 units, as the Balcanic team finished with four players with double digit.

Jean Patry had his best performance at the tournament with 30 points for France. Timothée Carle played the first twe sets as substitute, but started in the last three to achieve 23 units. Unfortunately, France suffered their second defeat at the tournament.

Italy 3-1 Japan
Italy dominated Japan in four sets by scores of 25-20, 23-25, 30-28 and 25-12 and earned 9 points to finish ahead of Pool D. Tiziano Mazzone, Andrea Argenta and Oreste Cavuto were the top scorers of the Italian team. Mazzone tallied 14, while Argenta closed with 13 and Cavuto  12. On the Japanese side, Ataru Kumakura totalized 14 points. Yuki Higuchi finished with 13 and Taishi Onodera registered 10. Italy served well to control their Asian rival with a final 4-2 advantage and got 42 points by errors in 1 hour and 52 minutes.

Argentina 3-1 Poland
Argentina advanced to the second round of the FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship after prevailing over Poland in four sets (32-30, 16-25, 26-24, 25-20). Gaston Fernandez finished with 16 points, while Bruno Lima closed wiith 14, the same as Brian Melgarejo. Meanwhile, Joaquin Gallego tallied 11 units.

Bartlomiej Lipinski was the best scorer of the match with 21 points for Poland, that surrendered 31 by error, while Argentina gave up 25. Pawel Halaba had 16 kills and Polish captain Aleksander Sliwka recorded 13.

Iran 3-1 Cuba
Iran finally clinched their first victory at the FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship by defeating Cuba in three sets. The pupils of Farhad Nafarzadeh won 3-1 (18-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-18) in 1 hour and 41 minutes. Amin Esmaelilnezhad was the best offensive player of the Iranian team by scoring 20 points, 14 of them with powerfull spikes. He also recorded four points by blocking the Cuban attack and aced two times. Saeed Javaheri had 16 tallies, including 3 blocks and 2 aces. Cuba started the game well, but heir mistakes made them lost. Their best player was Luis Sosa doing a great job by scoring 12 points, while Osmany Uriarte tallied 10 units.

Canada 3-0 Mexico
Canada claimed their second victory and the second place of Pool A after defeating hosts Mexico 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-20).

The Canadian team had Ryan Nickifor as their best scorer with 23 points, followed by Brandon Koppers with 9. Ridl Alexis Garay was the best of Mexico with 11 points, while Alan Gabriel Martinez finished with 9 units.

Mexico surrendered 26 points in errors, while Canada gave up 18. Serving and blocking were two fundamentals things that the team coached by John Barrett worked on to grab the ticket as the only Norceca representative team in second round.

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Nivaldo and Sergio capped actions with gold at Varadero

Nivaldo Díaz and Sergio Hernandez of Cuba-A outclassed Christian Redmann and Felipe Humana of Canada-A 2-0 (21-13, 21-13) to win the men’s gold medal at the Varadero Tournament, the fourth stop of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit held for the fifth consecutive year at the beautiful tourism spot.

At the Barcelo Solymar Arenas Blancas Resort, the bronze medalists at the Pan American Games and champions at the Central American Games in Veracruz 2014, reaffirmed their solid game and didn’t offer their North American opponents any break during the 32-minute match under sunny skies and surrounded by enthusiastic fans.

“I don’t think Canada and United States brought their strongest players, but in any event the competitors go out for the win and we knew we had to have our top game and rhythm to give Cuba a well deserved triumph,” said Nivaldo, the younger member of the host team.

His partner Sergio said to be very glad with their second gold medal, added to the first they got at the start of the circuit at Cayman Islands, but even more because his country surpass the expectations every year.

“I think this one has been the best. All the hotels during the previous stages did their best to give their support, and this has not been the exception, but my compatriots really worked hard and efficiently to have an event technically organized at the highest level. Now I hope these performances allow us to compete at the world tour to reach the elite and dream with a decorous performance at the great competitions like the Olympic Games,” Sergio said.

The bronze medal went to the United States team of Edwin Mark Burik and Curt Toppel, silver medalists in the previous stop, who edged Yendry Castillo and Liosbel Méndez of Cuba-B in a three-set battle that lasted 1 hour and six minutes 2-1 (21-16, 20-22, 15-13) warming up the sand for the title’s matches in both genders.

Sunday’s Results

Bronze Medal Match: USA d CUB-B: 2-0 (21-16, 20-22, 15-13). Gold Medal Match: CUB-A d CAN-A: 2-0 (21-13, 21-13).

Final Positions:

1.- Nivaldo Díaz/Sergio González (CUB-A); 2.-Christham Redmann/Felipe Humana (CAN-A); 3.- Edwin M. Burik-Curt Toppel (USA); 4.-Yendry Castillo/Liosbel Méndez (CUB-B); 5.-Fabien Whitfield/Daneil Williams (TRI); 6.- Aaron Nusbaun/Mike Plantinga (CAN-B); 7.- Marc Lomeli/Brian Kwasny (ISV); 8.-Rubén Mora/Miguel López (NCA); 9.- William Sánchez-Luis Castillo (DOM); 10.- Rooper Espinoza/Alexander Villegas (CRC); 11.- Franklin Flores/Armando Guatemala (ESA);  12.-Senel Dupuy/Kelpes Vilmont (HAI); 13.- Marty Wood-Wilfredo Vega (HON); 14.- Furgil Ong A Fat/Zefanio Breinburg (SUR); 15.-Tevin St. Jean (LCA)/ Agustín Faulkner (LCA).

The USA-A duo of Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes took home the women’s crown at the fourth stage of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit by defeating the home Cuban team of Leila Martínez and Lidianni Echeverria (CUB-A) 2-0 (21-18, 24-22) to close the Varadero Tournament at Barceló Solymar Arenas Blancas Resort.

The Americans, winners of the bronze medal at the previous stop in North Bay, Canada displayed great ability but also took advantage of the inconsistent concentration of Leila, runner-up at the Pan American Games in Toronto, who partnered this time with a 19-year-old youngster who showed composure despite her inexperience.

The Californian native Hughes commenting on behalf of her team said: “We are very happy and elated to be in Cuba for the first time. It is a beautiful place, the event has been pretty and the conditions were very good."

Leila, who was the victim of the lethal serves from the winners, said that even though she was unable to step on the highest place of the podium “it is important for the younger players to develop and to help them. We want to prepare well for the Olympic qualification towards Rio de Janeiro 2016 where I expect to be with my partner Lianma Flores, and the youngsters also can produce a good performance.”


On the other hand, the Costa Ricans Karen Cope/Natalia Alfaro obtained the bronze medal by outplaying Irene Hester/Caitlin Ledoux (USA-B) 2-1 (21-13, 17-21, 15-13) in a battle that lasted almost one hour to not let down those who favored the Latin Americans in the tournament that welcomed 15 pairs of each gender from 15 countries visiting Varadero for fifth consecutive year.


Sunday’s Results

Bronze Medal Match: CRC d USA-B 2-1 (21-13, 17-21, 15-13). Gold Medal Match: USA-A d CUB-A 2-0 (21-18, 24-22).

 
Final Positions:

1.- Sara Hughes-Kelly Claes (USA-A); 2.- Leila Martínez-Lidianni Echevarría (CUB-A); 3.- Karen Cope/Natalia Alfaro (CRC); 4.- Irene Hester- Caitlin Ledoux (USA-B); 5.- Gloria Santoyo/Stephanie Burnside (MEX-B); 6.- Kerri Smit/Victoria Cowley (CAN-B); 7.- Rachel Cockrell/Camille Saxton (CAN -A); 8.- Jennifer Batista/Raquel Ferrand (DOM); 9.- Ayana Dyette/Malika Davidson (TRI); 10.- Lianma Flores/Yanileidis Sánchez (CUB-B); 11.- Ana Ríos/Bibiana Candelas (MEX-A); 12.- Ana Villagrán/Aury Álvarez (GUA).- Dala Noel/Skye Faucher-Mondesir (LCA); 14.- Janice Valtes/Sigourney Kame (SUR); 15.- Amber Bennett/Valissia Brathwaite (ISV).

 

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Brazilian men open bid for historic fourth World Championship title

After winning the last three titles in the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, Brazil are aiming to set another record of becoming the first team to win the competition four times in a row. 

 
The only other team to achieve this feat is Italy, who have won the title three times in a row in 1990, 1994 and 1998. Brazil followed with their own three-peat in 2002, 2006 and 2010. 
 
In the latest edition of the World Championship, Brazil will be put to test against tough competitors Germany on the first match, Finland, Cuba, Korea and Tunisia in the succeeding matches in Pool B. 
 
Meanwhile, London 2012 Olympic gold medallists Russia are also pegged as the top favourites, will also open the first match in Pool C against Canada. Although the Russians have not finished on top of the podium in the World Championship, they have managed to stay in close second to Brazil in 2002. 
 
Canada, China, Egypt and Mexico complete the Pool C cast and vie to improve their records and move to the second round of the competition.
 

Key Points
 
• Only Soviet Union have won more gold medals at the World Championships than Brazil and Italy – they have six. 
 
• Brazil have won 25 of their last 29 World Championship matches. 
 
• Germany have lost their last three matches at the World Championship in 2010, they had a longer losing streak in 2006 with five. 
 
• Germany can lose four matches in a row by a 3-0 scoreline for the first time in history. 
 
• Brazil have won all five matches against German teams – two against German Democratic Republic and three against unified Germany. 
 
• Brazil have four of the five wins against Germany in straight sets, including the last three in 1994, 2006 and 2010.


• Finland make their return to the World Championship for the first time since 1982. 
 
• Finland hope to win their opening match at the World Championship for the first time after six opening defeats at previous editions. 
 
• Cuba have reached the semifinals in four of the last six World Championships. 
 
• Cuba have won a silver medal in 1990, bronze in 1998 and silver in 2010. 
 
• Cuba won the only match against Finland at the World Championship in straight sets in 1966. 
 
• Cuba have defeated Finland in straight sets in four of the five matches at major tournaments.


• Korea’s best finish in their eight World Championship appearances was in fourth place in 1978. 
 
• Korea’s have finished 17th in their last World Championship appearance in 2006. 
 
• Tunisia have the most participations among African teams. 
 
• Tunisia have won five and lost six of their five-setters at the World Championship. 
 
• Tunisia and Korea have a draw in their World Championship matchups; Korea won 3-0 in 1974 and Tunisia took the second 3-2 in 2006. 
 
• The 3-2 defeat was Korea’s only loss against an African team at the World Championship.


• Russia will participate in the World Championship for a record of 18 times, including their participation as the Soviet Union. 
 
• Russia have lost two of the last three opening matches at the World Championship. 
 
• Canada will make their 10th appearance in the World Championship. 
 
• Canada’s best result is a ninth place finish in 1994. 
 
• Russia and Canada have met twice at the World Championship; Russia won both encounters. 
 
• The last time Russia and Canada met at a big event was in the Final Round of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World League.


• Mexico will make a back-to-back appearances at the World Championship; they have participated five times. 
 
• Mexico’s best ranking was at 10th place on their debut in 1974. 
 
• Bulgaria have won five medals in the World Championship. 
 
• Bulgaria have one silver medal and four bronze medals. 
 
• Bulgaria and Mexico have met twice at the World Championship; Bulgaria won both encounters. 
 
• Bulgaria and Mexico have not met in in a major tournament in 36 years.


• China will take part for the 13th straight World Championship since 1994. 
 
• China’s last victory was in 2006 against Egypt. 
 
• Egypt will take part for the eighth straight time in the World Championship since 1998.• Egypt’s best result was in 13th place in 2010. 
 
• China have the advantage over Egypt in the World Championship, they won all three previous encounters. 
 
• The first two meetings were won in straight sets, the third one was won in five sets.
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Cuba clinches a berth in the semis after beating Venezuela

TIJUANA, México, August 14, 2014.- Cuba beat Venezuela and advanced to the semifinals after a five setter victory (23-25, 25-20, 25-26, 29-31, 15-6).

Javier Jimenez Scull, Rolando Cepeda and Osmani Uriarte, finished as top scorers for Cuba, as well as David Fiel and Isbel Mesa. Jiménez tallied 20 points, while Cepeda closed with 18. Fiel registered 15 and I Mesa 11.

For Venezuela, Kervin Pinerua leaded the attack with 23 points and also served four aces. Jesus Chourio closed  12 and a couple of aces, while Hector Salerno closed with 11.

Venezuela missed a service in the last set, while Cuba adjusted the blocking strategy.  However Cuba also missed one service and failed in a reception play that gave the advantage to the South American squad. “We suffered a lot in this match, but we won in the end. That was the most important thing. We have won matches in five sets with a young squad, with some mistakes, but I think as long as we move on, we can solve that,” Cuban coach Rodolfo Luis Sanchez, stated.

“It was a good match, we started pretty well in the first set, but in the second and third the ball was on one side and another. We made serving mistakes and in many fundamentals. We won the fourth set with the heart, but after that there was nothing else,” said Venezuela’s coach Vincenzo Nacci.

“I think we could not block enough, but Cuba is a very strong team on the attack, and defending the ball. After that, there were some good moments but we began to get tired and could not get into rhythm”, Venezuelan captain Kervin Pinerua indicated.

“It was a good match. Venezuela was very strong in first and fourth sets. We worked hard on attack and service power to close with a win. Now we are ready to achieve a new goal, that is to win the championship as well as we remain in the World League,” Cuban captain Rolando Cepeda concluded.

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