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Brazil Wins Epic Title Match Over Cuba

Brazil celebrates after winning epic five-set match over Cuba to win the FIVB Men's Junior World Championship in Pune, India

PUNE, India (Aug. 9, 2009) – In an epic championship battle, Brazil edged Cuba 30-28, 21-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-8 on Sunday to capture the 2009 FIVB Men’s Junior World Championship gold medal at the event being held at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune, India.

Brazil has now won the last two FIVB Men’s Junior World Championships and four overall (1993, 2001, 2007 and 2009). In addition, it has won five silvers (1981, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2005) and three bronzes (1977, 1989 and 1999). Brazil is the only country to have participated in all 15 editions of the event. Meanwhile, Cuba’s silver-medal performance matches the country’s best-ever showing in the event from the 1987 tournament. In the previous event held in 2007, Cuba finished eighth.

Five different Brazilians scored in double figures topped by Mauricio Silva and Isac Santos with 19 points. Renan Buiatti and Franco Willian Cargnin Paese notched 15 points in the victory, while Ygor Francisco Tavares Duarte came off the bench to provide 10 points.

Rolando Cepeda Abreu paced Cuba with 25 points. Wilfredo Leon Venero, the youngest player in the tournament, added 20 points in the championship match for Cuba. Fernando Hernandez Ramos provided 14 points in the loss and Isbel Mesa Sandobal charted 10 points.

As close as the match score was, so were the team statistics. Cuba had a 15-12 block advantage, while Brazil held a slim 4-3 margin in aces. Brazil converted 69 of 133 spike attempts into points, while Cuba converted on 66 of 136 attempts. Cuba committed 29 errors in the match to Brazil’s 24.

Brazil reached the finals without dropping a match, but was pushed to five sets against host India in the semifinals. Cuba lost its opener in the first round to eventual bronze medalist Argentina, and has only lost to Brazil in the final match of the second round when both teams had already secured semifinal berths.

Brazil rolled out to a 3-0 advantage with kills from Wesz, Silva and Buiatti to start the opening set. Cuba roared back to tie the set at 4-all with spikes from Leon Venero, Cepeda Abreu and Mesa Sandobal. Brazil took a 7-5 advantage after a Cuba error. Back-to-back Brazil errors gave Cuba the lead at 8-7. Brazil answered the challenge with four straight points capped by a Radke and Santos combined block at 11-8. Brazil reached the second technical timeout with a four-point lead, 16-12. Cuba narrowed the deficit to 18-16 after a Brazil attack error. Brazil moved back to a four-point lead at 20-16 after Cuba was called for an attack violation. Cepeda Abreu served an ace closing the deficit to 20-18, only to have Brazil return to a 22-18 margin following an attack error. Cepeda Abreu and Camejo Durruthi combined for a block closing the gap back to two points at 23-21 forcing a Brazil timeout. Macias Infante tagged an overpass for a point moving Cuba to within one at 24-23, and Cepeda Abreu scored a spike to erase the deficit and tie it at 24-all. Cepeda Abreu gave Cuba its first set point at 27-26. An attack error by Cuba returned Brazil in front 28-27. Buiatti scored the winner on an overpass spike to win 30-28. Cargnin Paese paced Brazil with seven points in the opening set, while Cuba was sparked by Cepeda Abreu’s eight points.

Brazil bolted to a 4-0 lead, but it was short-lived. Cuba tied the set at 6-all, then went into the first technical timeout up 8-6 as Cepeda Abreu and Hernandez Ramos scored five points between them in the run. Leon Venero added another point out of the break to go up 9-6. Cuba extended its advantage to five points at 13-8. Cepeda Abreu put down a block to increase Cuba’s lead to 15-9. Brazil scored consecutive points to close to 15-11. Brazil scored the first two points out of the break to move to 16-13. Hernandez Ramos slammed a spike off the block to return Cuba to a five-point edge at 18-13. Cepeda Abreu collected a kill off the Brazil block and Cuba picked up a point on a Brazil error to gain a 22-15 advantage. Silva pocketed two spikes and Carvalho was part of a triple block to narrow the deficit to 23-19. A Cuba error sliced its lead to 23-20. Cuba traded points the rest of the way for a 25-21 victory off a Brazil service error. Cepeda Abreu tallied seven points in the second set, while Hernandez Ramso added six for Cuba.

Brazil gained a two-point separation in the third set at 5-3 after a Cuba error. Brazil took a 7-4 lead and went into the first technical timeout up 8-5. Cuba responded with a 4-1 run to tie the set at 9-all. Brazil gained an 11-9 lead following a Silva ace off the net. Santos and Cargnin Paese combined for a block giving Brazil its three-point lead back at 13-10. Tavares Duarte collected a kill causing Cuba to call timeout at 15-11. Cepeda Abreu scored a point at 17-15 putting Brazil on the bench for a timeout. Cuba pushed forward to within one at 19-18 after a Brazil attack error. Brazil re-established its three-point cushion after a Cuba attack went wide. Silva gave Brazil set points at 24-21 with a spike. Cargnin Paese ended the set with a cross-court winner at 25-22. Santos and Buiatti compiled seven points apiece in the set as the middle blockers combined for 14 points. Cepeda Abreu scored seven points in leading Cuba in the third set.

Tavares Duarte fired off a kill to give Brazil an early 5-3 lead in the fourth set. Cuba tied the set at 9-all after a Brazil attack error. Brazil picked up a Cuba attack error to go back in front by two, 13-11. Brazil increased its advantage to 15-12 after a Cuba miscue. Cuba gained the first two points of the second technical timeout on a Cepeda Abreu spike and Brazil error to close to within one, 16-15. Brazil went up 20-17 as serving specialist Jairo Weist Medeiros entered and served an ace. Cuba formed a double block to close its deficit to 20-19. Camejo Durruthi formed back-to-back blocks to give Cuba a 21-20 lead. A Cepeda Abreu attack gave Cuba set point at 24-23. Leon Venero pounded out the winner at 25-23, his sixth point of the set. Cuba produced five blocks in the fourth set to help it push the set to the tiebreaker.

Tavares Duarte put up a block as part of two consecutive points to give Brazil a 3-2 advantage. Cargnin Paese added another block to push Brazil’s advantage to 5-3. Tavares Duarte and Santos combined for a block extending Brazil’s margin to 7-4. Cuba hit long to give Brazil an 8-4 lead at the switch. Santos and Radke combined for another block and Santos added another block after the switch improving Brazil’s lead to 10-4. A Cuban attack wide of the mark extended the gap to seven points at 11-4. Cargnin Paese scored Brazil’s seventh straight point at 12-4 with a spike. Cuba broke the streak and scored consecutive points to narrow the deficit to 12-6. Silva spiked down the line giving Brazil match points at 14-7. Silva ended the match with a monster spike in the middle of the court at 15-8.

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