Cubans González / Díaz retain the crown

Sergio González and Nivaldo Díaz, from Cuba, managed to straighten out a complicated encounter and based on a good block they won in an exciting final 23-21, 18-21, 15-13 to Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen, from Mexico, in the final of the men's beach volleyball of the XXIII Central American and Caribbean Games Barranquilla 2018.

It is the second consecutive title of González/Díaz, and Cuba's fourth gold medal in beach volleyball in the Central American and Caribbean Games, while Mexico is left with four silver medals.

Gonzalez/Diaz won the first set against a demanding Mexico, who in the second after being tied at 13, took advantage with two blocks of Virgin and two Ontiveros attacks, who also delighted the fans with two high-level defensive actions.

In the third set both teams maintained the parity to 3 points, but Cuba took control with blocks of Gonzalez and Diaz showing an impressive defense that raised the applause of the attendees.

Big defensive plays and some rallies adorned a great final at the Puerta de Oro Events Center.

Sergio Gonzalez pointed out that "this was the goal of this year and we got it, it was a demanding game, I failed in complex 1 (reception), but my partner at all times gave me encouragement, and that encouraged me."

Nivaldo said that "it really was a demanding game, we failed on both sides due to the pressure. We were confident of our ability and things went quite well. I think the audience enjoyed it, there were good rallies and a lot of intensity in the game. "

"We respect Mexico a lot, it's a great team, but we get the best out of us", added Nivaldo.

Johan Murray/Jorge Luis Manjarres, of Colombia, won the bronze medal by defeating 21-18, 21-19 the Venezuelan duo Carlos Rangel/José Gómez.

Encouraged by their fans, the Colombians took the initiative all the game, although Rangel/Gómez pressed in the block, they could not before the advantage that the locals took in the middle of the set.

Final positions

1.- Cuba 2.- MEX 3.- COL 4.- VEN 5.- NCA 6.- CRC 7.-GUA 8.- TTO 9.- PUR 10.- SKN 11.- DOM 12.- CUR 13. - ESA 14.- BAR 15.- JAM 16.- SOUTH 17.- LCA 18.- HON 19.- DMA 20.- CAY 21.- HAI 22.- ISV.


Cubanas Deliz/Martínez win the gold of Barranquilla

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The Cuban Mailen Deliz/Leila Martinez, won the gold medal of the beach volleyball women's tournament of the XXIII Central American and Caribbean Games Barranquilla 2018, after winning 21-8, 21-14 to Colombians Yuli Ayala/Diana Ríos.

Despite having the support of its fans that filled the Puerta de Oro Events Center, the Colombian duo failed to find the key to the Cuban game, who get their third gold medal, tied with Mexico as top monarchs.

For Martinez iit is his second golden medal, since he was crowned four years ago in Veracruz, Mexico. "We dedicate it to all the people who supported us and helped us prepare for these Games. I thank God for this medal, it was thanks a lot of sacrifice".

Díaz said that "this medal was missing from the Cuban delegation, it is for all our partner. It's special because we train for this, we give ourselves fully and here's the result. "

Norisbeth Agudo/Gabriela Brito, from Venezuela, won the bronze medal by beating 21-12, 21-9 to Puerto Rico, with Allanis Navas/María González.

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Cuba qualifies to NORCECA U20 Semifinals

Cuba qualified to semifinals after beating Costa Rica 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-21) at the Women’s NORCECA U20 Championship in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Cuba joins United States and Dominican Republic in Friday’s semifinals, waiting for either Mexico or Puerto Rico. Costa Rica will face Guatemala in classification 5/8 round.

Cuban players lacked their usual energy, with a dull performance and struggling to move ahead in scores as they committed a variety of unforced errors the entire game. Costa Rica maintained their calm, executing their game plan well, surprising Cuba but still not taking unnecessary risks.

Cuba finished with a huge 40-27 margin in kills and 9-4 in blocks. Costa Rica held 7-6 advantage in aces. Cuba benefited scoring on 20 opponent errors while allowing 25.

Middle blockers Yamisleydis Viltres and Daima Del Rio led Cuba scoring 12 points apiece, wing spiker Ailama Cese added 10 points and setter Thalia Moreno chipped in with 9 points. Middle blocker Susan Alpizar scored 9 points for Costa Rica.

Middle blocker Daima Del Río of Cuba: “We lack attitude, yes we are happy because we are one step further in reaching our objective. We committed too many unforced errors and we really hope to do better tomorrow”.

Regla Torres head coach of Cuba: “I am not satisfied with today’s performance, I did not like it. My team and every Cuban team have better rhythm, a higher level, powerful and with better attitudes. My assistant Marta and I, as former players, can’t inject the girls the desire to execute everything we’ve prepared and practiced. We hope they will understand what’s needed. We are in semifinals but we must play differently”.

Andrés López head coach of Costa Rica: “I am glad despite our loss, but as a group, going back to my Federation, I reached my objective. Today my starters in every set were the tallest players and that helped us against Cuba’s strength over the net. I think that Cuba came in tired from their previous matches that were really tough and we worked them well with our strong serves. Central America doesn’t have this level, so when the match was really close, we miss 3 points, we recover, we even the score and our competitive level is not enough, neither physically nor mentally speaking, there’s nothing left to do. We don’t know how to solve. We could compete better if we had better preparation matches”.

Middle Blocker Susan Alpizar of Costa Rica: “This is our first experience, and playing against the best in the world excites us, we feel motivated because the result was good. I was pressured because I was afraid to commit errors, but our motivation was high and that helped the team, and our attitude was the best”.

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Cuba stops the momentum of Trinidad & Tobago

The Cuban national team stopped the impetus of Trinidad and Tobago and won its second match 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-11) in the NORCECA Men’s Challengers Cup which grants the champion the confederation quota to the FIVB 2019 League of Nations qualifying World Final.

The initial set was characterized by a strong rivalry where the visitors arrived to point 16 tied with the home side, who strengthened their attack to close victorious and confirm their high level in this area also in the rest of the match.

In the following, the favorites to take the crown and the quota were clearly superior in all aspects and did not give liberties to the Trinidadians, who in the second set lost their only setter, Donald Kameron, hampered by an injury to the left ankle, and was replaced by wing spiker Daynte Stewart.

The top scorer was the opposite of Trinidad & Tobago Ryan Stewart who had 16 points in a day he took the team on his shoulders.

The Cubans, with an offense shared between regulars and substitutes, had in the opposite Miguel David Gutierrez the one who added the most with 9 points, followed by wing spiker Miguel Ángel López and middle blocker Javier Concepción each with 7 points.

Cuban technical director Nicolás Vives said that "we are in preparation to face the Puerto Ricans tomorrow and this was a transit match, at the same time we are working on some aspects like the tactical serve and others that we did not want to show, but we are ready to win against Puerto Rico, because it is one of our rivals in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla."

Their captain, center-back Liván Osoria, said "really in the first set they showed some resistance but we were catching our game little by little, we fulfilled the objectives and tomorrow we are coming for the victory against Puerto Rico. These two matches plus the preparation we have gone through and the experience of those of us who have played in foreign leagues, I think that gives us all the weapons and the drive to succeed."

Sean Morrison, head coach of Trinidad and Tobago, said: "It was a very good match, my team was excellent in the first set, we even made five attacks that separated us from the opponents, but we needed to be more consistent and compared to the rival today there is no doubt that there is a big gap, we have to work more at this level to continue improving, and I love playing against Cuba because of its level and because I feel it as a family."

His captain Ryan Stewart highlighted the performance of the hosts and said that "it was a good game and an excellent performance by our team, we have a lot of work to do, what we have to do is keep improving and keep pushing and pushing to try to win the match".

Cuba (2-0) will face Friday the undefeated Puerto Rico (3-0) starting at 18:30 local time, while the program opens at 15:30 with Guatemala against Costa Rica.

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TANDARA HELPS LIFT BRAZIL IN AN EPIC AGAINST CHINA

Brazil's Tandara Caixeta led the way with 19 points as her side carved out an epic 3-2 (19-25, 25-23, 27-25, 10-25, 16-14) victory over China in women's third-round action at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Tuesday.

It was a result that could have gone either way right until the death and had the crowd inside the Jiangmen Sports Centre screaming to the rafters. But Brazil stole a small break in the last - and held on for dear life with wing spiker Caixeta's heroics being ably supported by middle blocker Adenizia Da Silva( 14 points including seven blocks) and wing spiker Amanda Francisco (13 points).

Brazil coach José Roberto Guimarães wisely saw a Chinese finger touch the ball and questioned the call that decided the match. But there were heroic efforts from both camps across the court.

China's superstar spiker Zhu Ting had stepped up when in mattered against her team's arch-rivals, registering a sensational game-high 34 points that included 27 spikes and five blocks. Her efforts were backed by middle blocker Yuan Xinyue with 16 points and another promising effort from the 18-year-old opposite spiker Li Yingying who picked up 12 points - and plenty of court time.

China coach Lang Ping has been experimenting with her line-up over the course of the first three rounds of the VNL - and even allowed Zhu a break from all action entirely over the first two. But such is the strength of the teams they have drawn for this fourth round - added to the fact that they are playing in front of their faithful fans - that the smart money is on China giving their main stars plenty of chances to shine this week.

Centre of all the attention will of course by the 23-year-old Zhu and she was in the thick of things from the first set, using her incredible reach and leap to punish Brazil with some powerful spikes.

But there's no doubt Brazilian memories still reach back to the Rio Olympics and the marathon 3-2 loss to the Chinese that is now part of volleyball lore.

That China also came in on a four-match winning streak over the South Americans was also reason for them lift, if indeed any more was needed.

Brazil clawed their way back into the match in the second set - an enormous stuff block from Da Silva to make it 9-10 was a highlight - and gradually their defensive work started to gel. It was another disputed call that swayed the third set - right when it looked China's for the taking.

The Brazilians benefited from a ball that looked to graze a fingernail only at set point to China, before edging their rivals 27-25.

But the call only seemed to inspire China, and Zhu especially, as they powered through the fourth.The tension in the last was palpable - and the Brazilians held their nerve.

The reward for Brazil (9-1) is an encounter on Wednesday with fellow table toppers the USA (9-1), while China (5-5)) will next face Russia (6-4).

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San Jose welcomes U19 NORCECA Championship

Seven teams, including defending champions Cuba, will battle in the capital of Costa Rica in the NORCECA U19 Boys’ Youth Championship from June 6 to 10 for two tickets to next year’s FIVB World Championship of the age-group.

Cuba, United States, Guatemala and Honduras will play in Pool B while host Costa Rica will compete in Pool A alongside Puerto Rico and Nicaragua.

The top two ranked teams of each pool will meet in crossed matches in the semifinals of the event to be contested at the National Gymnasium of San Jose on June 9.

Cuba has won the tournament a record four times followed by United States and Puerto Rico each with two titles. Dominican Republic and Mexico have won it once.

The Cubans won their fourth crown at home in Havana in 2016 prevailing in a nail-biter of five sets against United States 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 25-19, 23-25, 15-11).

The victory of Cuba avenged the loss to USA in the previous NORCECA Championship held in Tulsa, United States in 2014.

Past Podiums
YEAR GOLD SILVER BRONZE
1998 DOM MEX PUR
2000 MEX PUR CAN
2002 PUR USA MEX
2004 CUB CAN MEX
2006 PUR USA CUB
2008 USA PUR MEX
2010 CUB USA PUR
2012 CUB MEX USA
2014 USA CUB MEX
2016 CUB USA MEX
Composite Podiums
                                                   
COUNTRY GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
CUB 4 1 1 6
USA 2 4 1 7
PUR 2 2 2 6
MEX 1 2 5 8
DOM 1 0 0 1
CAN 0 1 1 2

Preliminary Round Schedule

June 6

15:00    Guatemala v United States

17:00    Cuba v Honduras

19:00    Puerto Rico v Nicaragua

June 7

15:00    Cuba v Guatemala

17:00    Honduras v United States

19:00    Costa Rica v Nicaragua

June 8

15:00    Honduras v Guatemala

17:00    United States v Cuba

19:00    Costa Rica v Puerto Rico 

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Cuba and Puerto Rico claim Olympic beach berths

HAVANA, Cuba, May 28, 2018 - The Cuban home boys Miguel Angel Ayón and Jorge Luis Alayo grabbed the gold medals of the NORCECA Central Zone Qualifier by beating Puerto Ricans William Rivera and Randall Santiago 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) while both teams had secured spots in the beach volleyball tournament of the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina next October.

The bronze medal went to Tim Brewster/John Schwengel (USA) after a hard-fought clash against Leonel Garza/Franky Hernandez (Mexico) that finished 2-1 (21-16, 17-21, 15-13) in the second court ready for the final at the Club Habana.

The slender Alayon, 16, thanked all the coaches in his life for the chance to enjoy the title and the Olympic pass in his international debut, as well as the support of his family and the Cuban sports movement.

"Especially the coaches who did an arduous job for the preparation ahead of this commitment, in which the Puerto Ricans were the ones who showed us the most resistance, we congratulate them because we will go together to the games, where we will fight to have a great performance".

His teammate Ayón assured that "we always focus to win even though we knew it would be a very even tournament, we are very happy for this victorious start and we will continue to emphasize and reach the best shape for what is coming in Argentina. It has been a very nice event and it gave us a good experience".

Both Cubans and Puerto Ricans won their respective A and B pools to advance to the semifinals, a stage in which the Cubans defeated Brewster and Schwengel (USA) 2-0 (21-18, 21-17), and Rivera and Santiago beat the combative Mexican duo that integrate formed by Leonel Garza and Franky Hernández (Mexico) 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-8).

Sunday’s Boys Final Summary:

Quarterfinals: Leonel Garza/Franky Hernandez (Mexico) d Cole Irwin/Robert Kemp (Canada) 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) and Tim Brewster/John Schwengel (USA) d Deivy Ramírez/Raymer Sarmiento (Republic Dominicana) 2-0 (21-12, 21-17).

Semifinals: William Rivera/Randall Santiago (Puerto Rico) vs. Leonel Garza/Franky Hernandez (Mexico) 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-8) and Miguel Ángel Ayón/Jorge Luis Alayo (Cuba) vs. Tim Brewster/John Schwengel (USA) 2-0 (21-18, 21-17).

Finals:

Gold: Miguel Ángel Ayón/Jorge Luis Alayo (Cuba) d William Rivera/Randall Santiago (Puerto Rico) 2-0 (21-14, 21-19).

Bronze: Tim Brewster/John Schwengel (USA) d Leonel Garza/Franky Hernandez (Mexico) 2-1 (21-16, 17-21, 15-13).

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Dominican Republic suffers second five-set loss

Belgium teenager Britt Herbots summoned up every ounce of energy she had left to deliver another superb attacking performance and lead her team to a pressure-packed 3-2 (25-16, 18-25, 25-18, 19-25, 15-7) victory over the Dominican Republic on the third day of the inaugural women's FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Thursday.

The 18-year-old Herbots showed no signs of tiring as the epic match ticked past two hours in duration as she racked up a game high 26 points and the Europeans rebounded from their straight-sets loss to China on Wednesday to claim their second win in Pool 2 after beating Korea 3-0 on Tuesday.

Wing spiker Celine Van Gestel and opposite spiker Kaja Grobelna each finished with 14 points while Marlies Janssens led the defence with four blocks in her eight points as Belgium withstood a fierce comeback from the never-say-die Dominican Republic, who endured the agony of two successive five-set defeats.

Dominican Republic finished the pool with three losses but might have had two wins had fortune gone their way. Outclassed by China, they suffered an exhausting and heart-breaking 3-2 defeat to Korea on Wednesday before coming so close against the fresher Belgians on Thursday.

Brayelin Martinz, who racked up 31 points in the loss to Korea, once again spearheaded the Dominican Republic challenge, finishing on 15 points, tied with Jeoselyna Rodriguez Santos, who came on as a substitute after the first set and made a huge impact.

Belgium travel to Toyota next week for Pool 5 matches against the host-nation Japan as well as the Netherlands and USA while Dominican Republic will head to to Ankara to play in Pool 8 alongside hosts Turkey as well as Argentina and Brazil.

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Mireya Luis elected vice president of FIVB

The legendary Cuban former player Mireya Luis has been unanimously elected executive vice president of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) following a proposal submitted by the president of the entity, Dr. Ary S. Graça F°.

Luis was proposed by NORCECA President Cristobal Marte Hoffiz, to fill the vacancy in the confederation quota created by the resignation of Marta Centeno de Sajche of Guatemala.

Speaking from Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, site of the meeting of the Executive Committee and Board of Administration, the Olympic champion of Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 expressed “special gratitude to my beloved Commander in Chief Fidel Castro for the achievements attained in my sport career.”

The captain for almost two decades of the spectaculars Morenas del Caribe, owners of the world titles in 1994 and 1998, added: “I accept this responsibility with humble and decorum on behalf of my country, my coaches and teammates.”

“I also want to thank to all those who contributed to my achievements, the province of Camaguey, the Cuban Volleyball Federation and the NORCECA Confederation”, added the winner of the gold medals at the World Cup (1989, 1991, 1995) and the Big Four Tournaments (1992 and 1994).

Considered among the best players in the history of the sport, she also has multiple medals won in Grand Prix tournaments, Pan American Games. Central American and Caribbean Games, and the World Junior in 1985, when Cuba stepped to the highest position of the podium.

Before turning fifteen she debuted at the X Pan American Games in Caracas 1983 and contributed to the islanders’s triumph and since then she displayed the kind of dedication she showed especially in Praga 1986 –just three weeks after she became a mother and contributed to the silver at the world championship.

Under the experienced eyes of Eugenio George and Antonio Perdomo, Mireya learned how to compensate her lack of size (just 1.75 meters) for this sport relying on her impressive leaping ability to attack to put a show deserving the adulation of his people and the fans around the world.

In recognition to her outstanding career she was elected among the best Cuban athletes of the Twentieth Century and inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA.

Following her retirement from the sport in 2000 she has been dedicated with enthusiasm to the Cuban sport at both national and international level.

She belongs to the executive group of the FCV, was part of the Athletes Commission of the International Olympic Committee for two cycles and since 2012 she is a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Administration of the North, Central American and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA).

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