Tijuana, Mexico, July 24, 2009 – Cuba defeated Czech Republic 3 sets to 1 (26-24, 25-16, 14-25, 25-19) and will now will meet China in the match for the ninth position.
The Cubans, who edged their opponents in blocks and serves 11-9 and 7-5, were topped by Yoana Palacios and Wilma Salas with 18 and 16 points and Gyselle Silva with 10 tallies. Tereza Vanzurova charted 12 points for the losers and Ivona Svobodnikova and Sarka Melicharkova each chipped in 10 points.
Cuba started with a lot of intensity behind the serves of Silva, who recorded two aces, and three spikes from Salas en route to an 8-1 advantage. Blocks by Giel and Salas expanded the gap to 10-1. The Czechs reacted behind Svobodnikova and Vanzurova to cut the difference to 13-10 and Cuba led 16-13 at the second stop. Salas scored twice to send Cuba ahead 20-15. Silva scored down the middle and Salas recorded one ace for a 23-18 advantage. Three consecutive errors by Cuba narrowed the bridge to 23-21. Block by Kvapilova put the Czechs within one point but Svobodnikova served long. A touch by Durianova and another error of Cuba allowed the tie. Block by Salas and long attack of Vanzurova gave Cuba the win 26-24.
Palacios’ spikes and the consistent blocking of Giel gave Cuba the lead 8-4 in the second set. Attack in the center by Silva, block from Marcillan and ace of Pumariega stretched the lead to 11-5. The second technical time-out found Cuba leading 16-10 thanks to a soft touch by Salas and a hammering strike authorized by Pumariega. Cuba won the set 25-16 with Pumariega and Silva ending in high gear.
Czech Republic was not willing to give up and started hot in the third set leading 8-4 carried out by Vanzurova. At the second pause, the Czechs extended the bridge to 16-10 with Melicharkova and Kvapilova’s contributions. Salas hit one spike for Cuba but the Czechs answered back via Kvapilova and Melicharkova for an 18-11 lead. Svobodnikova closed with a kill for the win 25-14.
Cuba went in front 8-6 but Czech Republic tied at 9-all with spikes of Vanzurova and Melicharkova. Spike of Palacios and block by Silva gave Cuba a two-point lead at 11-9. The Cubans were in front 16-13 at the second stop. Block and spike by Salas increased the distance to 22-18 and Cuba closed the match 25-19 with another blow by Salas.