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.
- Published in Sports