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Cuba Edges France, Both 2-1 in Pool C

Cuba's Rolando Cepeda Abreu (9), Isbel Mesa Sandobal (17) and Armando Danger Mullen (4) put up a block against France's Guillaume Quesque

PUNE, India (Aug. 2, 2009) – Cuba edged France 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 22-25, 15-13 on the third and final day of FIVB Men’s Junior World Championship first-round Pool C at Pune, India.

With the victory, Cuba and France are now both 2-1 and remains in contention for a spot in the second round’s top eight classification. Should Argentina (1-1) defeat Greece later today, a three-way tie for first will occur and the tiebreaking procedure will need to be applied. Cuba is ahead of France in terms of the point ratio.

Wilfredo Leon Venero pounded out 24 points for Cuba, while Rolando Cepeda Abreu added 23 points. Armando Danger Mulen chipped in 16 points for the Cubans.

Guillaume Quesque led four French players in double-figure scoring with 16 points, while Frederic Barais and Youssef Krou both contributed 13 points in the loss.

Cuba won all three team scoring categories with advantages in spikes (67-58), blocks (10-5) and aces (8-2). France stayed close as it benefited from 36 Cuban errors while only making 25 miscues of its own.

France jumped to a 7-3 lead in the opening set using a Stephane Alpha block and four Cuban errors. Cuba narrowed the margin to two points at 11-9, but France responded with two quick points to regain a four-point edge at 13-9. Cuba battled back with consecutive points at 14-12. Krou powered a kill off the Cuba block bringing France to a 17-13 advantage, only to have Cuba’s Cepeda Abreu crush a kill to return deficit back to two at 17-15. After a French service error, Cepeda Abreu served an ace to cut the gap to one at 24-23. However, Franck Lafitte slammed a quick middle attack down for the winner at 25-23. Barais led France with five points in the set, while Leon Venero and Cepeda Abreu each had seven points for Cuba.

France took a 3-0 lead in the second set with a Quesque kill and two Cuba errors. Krou served an ace yielding a 7-3 France advantage, only to have Cuba come back to within 7-6 with three consecutive French errors. France regained its four-point cushion with three consecutive Cuba errors at 12-8. Cuba cut the deficit in half at 15-13 before France went into the technical timeout up 16-13. Cuba came out of the break with three unanswered points at 16-all. Cuba went ahead 19-17 after a Mesa Sandobal block. Cepeda Abreu served an ace to extend the Cuba lead to three at 21-18. Krou helped France crawl back to within one at 21-20 with block. Cuba went on to win the set 25-22. Cuba’s Danger Mulen provided five points in the set as Cuba also picked up 10 errors from France in the set. France’s Krou compiled seven points in the period.

Cuba earned the first two-point edge of the third set at 4-2. Cuba’s Macias Infante controlled the block to extend his team advantage to 7-4. Cepeda Abreu added another Cuban block at 9-5. France cut the hole in half at 10-8 after Cuba error. Camejo Durruthi took a middle set for a Cuba point returning his team to a 12-8 margin. Krou slammed a kill for France and Cuba followed with an error moving the French within one at 12-11. Cuba pushed its lead back to 14-11 and went into the second technical timeout up 16-12 on an ace from Leon Venero. Cepeda Abreu found open court on consecutive spikes to increase Cuba’s lead to 20-14. Cepeda Abreu continued his production with consecutive aces at 24-15. Cuba won the set 25-16 on a France error. Cepeda Abreu finished the set with seven points and Leon Venero added six for Cuba.

Camejo Durruthi put up a block giving Cuba an early two-point advantage 3-1 in the fourth set. Leon Venero powered down a Cuban spike at 5-2. Frederic Barais produced a kill starting a rally cutting the French deficit to one at 8-7. Cuba upped its margin to 12-8 with a block, but France methodically came back to tie the set at 16-all with a Lafitte block capping the comeback. Cuba responded with two quick points to regain a 18-16 lead. France tied the set at 19-all on a Cuban error. France earned its first lead of the fourth set at 22-21 after a Cuban attack went long. France increased its lead to two points at 23-21 on a second straight Cuban error. France finalized the set with a kill at 25-22. France was aided in the set by 10 Cuban errors and Barais chipped in four spikes in the victory.

France gained a 4-2 lead in the tiebreaker after a block from Stephane Alpha. Cuba tied the set at 6-all after three players formed a big block. Leon Venero slammed a kill off the French block to give Cuba its first lead at 9-8. Leyva Martinez put down a kill at 13-11 giving Cuba a 13-11 lead. Danger Mulen spiked a kill off the French block to give Cuba match points at 14-11. France saved two match points to close to within one at 14-13, but Cepeda Abreu slammed the final point at 15-13 for the Cuba victory.


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