PUNE, India (Aug. 5, 2009) – Cuba defeated United States 25-23, 25-23, 25-23 with the slimmest of margins on Wednesday during the second day of Pool F competition of the 2009 FIVB Men’s Junior World Championship being played at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune, India.
Cuba improves to 2-0 and is in a good position to advance to the semifinal match on Aug. 8. USA falls to 0-2 in the four-team round-robin second-round pool and is in danger of not advancing to the semifinal round. Only the top two teams from Pool E and Pool F advance to the semifinals, while the third- and fourth-place teams fall into the 5-8 classification matches.
Wilfredo Leon Venero and Fernando Hernandez Ramos scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, to score 41 of Cuba’s points. Isbel Mesa Sandobal added seven points.
Tri Bourne lead USA with 14 points, while Antonio Ciarelli came off the bench to score 12 points. Murphy Troy added eight points.
Like the set scores, the statistics were close as well. Cuba held a 44-37 margin in kills, 11-10 edge in blocks and 4-3 advantage in aces. In a match with limited team errors, USA benefited from 19 Cuban errors to its own 16.
Cuba concludes Pool F on Thursday against Brazil at 16:00, while USA challenges Iran at 12:00.
The U.S. scored the first two points of the opening set, but Cuba came back to take the lead at 5-2 on consecutive blocks from Camejo Durruthi and three kills from Hernandez Ramos. A USA attack error lift Cuba’s advantage to 7-3. Troy served an off the net that Cuba could not control closing the USA to 7-5. USA reached within one at 9-8 after a Cuba misfire on attack, but USA gave the point back with a back-row attack error at 11-8. Cuba extended its lead to 15-10 with another USA attack error and tip shot over the block by Leon Venero. USA scored consecutive points after a Jaynes spike and Lawson block at 15-12. Hernandez Ramos rifled an ace out of the second technical timeout yielding a 17-12 Cuba lead. Bourne scored consecutive kills at 20-17 pulling USA within three. Ciarelli scored back-to-back kills closing the USA deficit to 21-19 and forcing a Cuba timeout. Leon Venero and Hernandez Ramos connected for consecutive spikes to reach set point at 24-20. USA saved two set points after a Cuba error at 24-22. Vogel and Ciarelli added a combined block at 24-23 to save USA’s third straight set point at 24-23. But attack from Cuba ended the set at 25-23. Hernandez Ramos turned in 11 points for Cuba in the opening set, while teammate Leon Venero added seven. Team USA had six different players score three or two points and the squad took benefited from nine Cuban errors for its 23 points.
The teams traded points early int the second set until Mesa Sandobal took an overpass for a spike and put down a block as part of a 3-0 run going into the first technical timeout leading 8-5. Leon Venero and Mesa Sandobal took a consecutive poor service receptions for overpass kills at 11-6 forcing a USA timeout. Bourne and Ciarelli smashed a kills helping the USA to within two at 11-9. Vogel added a fourth straight point with a kill, causing Cuba to call a timeout with a slim 11-10 margin. USA completed the comeback with a block at 11-all, then Ciarelli aced Cuba twice in a row to give the Americans a 13-11 lead. Hernandez Ramos served an ace off the net to tie the score at 14-all. Camejo Durruthi turned in a block giving Cuba the advantage back at 15-14, then Hernandez Ramos served an ace to put his team into the second technical timeout up 16-14. Out of the break, Camejo Durruthi took a quick set and was part of a triple block yielding an 18-14 advantage on the 5-0 run. Bourne served an ace narrowing the deficit to 19-17, and Ciarelli won a joust at the net putting the score at 19-18. Cuba sent an attack long tying the set at 19-all. Cuba reached set point by trading points to 24-23. Leyva Martinez and Cepeda Abreu formed a block for the winning point at 25-23. Leon Venero compiled seven points in the second set for Cuba, matching the seven points of USA’s Ciarelli.
Bourne took a back-row spike after a Ciarelli kill giving the USA a 2-0 lead to start the third set. Bourne combined with a block with Vogel and added a tipped spike for a point pushing the USA in front 7-4. Bourne and Russell Lavaja combined for a block out of the technical timeout and Cuba committed an error increasing the American lead to 10-5. Cuba scored three back-to-back points including a smash from Hernandez Ramos to cut the score to 10-8. A Cuba out of a USA timeout closed the gap to within one at 10-9. A Cepeda Abreu kill tied the set at 13-all. Bourne formed a block with Vogel and followed with a solo block giving USA a 16-13 advantage at the second technical timeout. Cuba closed to one at 16-15 after a USA error. Kauliakamoa stuffed a Cuba attack to give USA its three-point cushion back at 18-15. However, Cuba’s Macias Infante served an ace and USA hit wide of the antenna to tie the set back at 18-all. A back-row USA attack error and Mesa Sandobal block gave Cuba a 20-18 lead. Team USA tied the score at 20-all with a Troy kill, then went ahead by Cuba not controlling a USA attack. Cuba went ahead 23-22 on attack USA could not control, then Leon Venero scored a kill giving Cuba match point at 24-22. Leon Venero won the match point winner at 25-23.