PRESS RELEASE 29.09.2003


USA and Canada secured places in 2003 World Cup

Culiacan, Mexico, September 29, 2003 - USA and Canada booked their places in the 2003 Men's World Cup after both sides claimed spots in Tuesday's final of the NORCECA Continental Championship after defeating Cuba and Mexico respectively in Monday's semifinals.

The US continued their excellent tournament form, especially on serve, to win in four sets 25-20, 25-22, 26-28, 25-20 and although Cuba presented some resistance, they committed several mistakes mainly in reception and couldn't maintain any consistency in attack. In the third set, the Cubans used strong serves to prevail but this only delayed the inevitable.

"I am very happy after winning this match," American coach Doug Beal said. "Cuba played very strongly and I want to congratulate them because they have been together for a very short period and it was a very close match."

"They played well and deserved the victory," Eliseo Ramos, the Cuban coach, said. "It is a very different side than the one we saw during the Pan Am Games, especially Lloy Ball, their setter."

William (Reid) Priddy, with 22 points, was the top scorer for the Americans while Tomas Aldazabal led the Cubans with 16 points. USA continues to lead the tournament in attack, serve, defense and reception statistics and is second in blocking and setting.

In the second semifinal Canada saw off Mexico by the same margin 25-9, 25-19, 24-26, 25-19 with Paul Duerden and Terence Martin leading the way with 19 and 15 points respectively.

"It is a good step and a great opportunity for us," Stelio DeRocco, the Canadian coach, said. "We are very happy because the tournament has been superb with great support."

Mexico's captain Ivan Contreras was disappointed with his side's lack of fight. "The cold blood we have showed against other teams in this tournament does not show up during the matches we need to win, and that is simply due to the type of preparation we have as a team."

In the match for fifth place, Puerto Rico defeated Panama 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-22).

While the Americans play Canada for gold Cuba and Mexico will battle it out for third place.