Tijuana, Mexico, July 16, 2009 – Cuba defeated USA 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-11 in the second match of Pool D. The Cubans seemed to have their batteries recharged while Americans looked tired and out of sync after three well contested frames.
Yoana Palacios paced the Cuban offense with 19 points while Yudith Pumariega and Wilma Salas charted 13 and 12 respectively. Lilla Frederick was USA top scorer with 11 tallies and Alexis Olgard and Amanda Dowdy recorded 9 points apiece.
Cuba held off a reaction from USA immediately after the second technical time-out and went on to prevail 25-23 in the first set. The Cubans led 8-7 and 16-14 at the breaks but the Americans answered back with a 3-0 rally led by Lilla Frederick to take the command 17-16. Yoanna Palacios produced a powerful spike for the tie at 17-all and both teams engaged in a seesaw battle the rest of the set. Evened at 23, Wilma Salas gave her side the lead with a lightning shot and the final point via a long attack by Hunt.
USA took the lead 8-3 in the second set. The margin increased to a seven-point maximum at 13-6 with Hunt leading the pack of the offense. Then Cuba shortened to 16-12 via some powerful kills out of the arm of Gyselle Silva. The spikes of Yoanna Palacios allowed Cuba to continue closing the gap until tying up at 23-all. But the long service by Silva and the block by American Lescay gave USA the margin 25-23.
The third set started close with both teams tied-up at 7-all when Cuban Pumariega landed a shot for the 8-7 lead at the technical stop. The Americans evened the score at 9-9 via a kill from Broekhuis. A couple of spikes by Salas united to a block by Giel gave Cuba a 13-10 margin which Pumariega extended to 16-12 leading to the second time-out. At 20-14, Frederick scored three straight spikes cutting the lead to 20-17 but Cuba prevailed 25-22 in the set capped by another spike from Pumariega.
Cuba started the fourth set building up a 4-0 gap helped by two spikes from Palacios. Spike from Silva after one block by Palacios stretched the lead to 6-0 and Cuba arrived leading 8-2 at the first break of the action. It was behind Pumariega that Cuba built a 16-6 comfortable advantage at the second technical time-out en route to a 25-11 win.