Beijing, August 17, 2008 -- Cuba will go to the Women's Volleyball tournament as the top finisher in pool A after handing Venezuela the fifth straight loss of its Olympic debut. The 25-20, 25-20, 25-19 win is Cuba's fifth straight in Beijing and confirms their status as a gold medal contender. Cuba will play Poll B's fourth finisher, either Russia or Serbia in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Teams exchanged points head-to-head at the beginning of the match. Double-blocks by Daimi Ramirez and Rosir Calderon of Cuba, followed by Nancy Carrillo's prominent spikes, widened the score gap in Cuba's favor.
Cuba edged ahead in the second set as their weaker opponent could not set up a decent combination due to their poor serve reception and weaker blocking on the net.
Desiree Glod of Venezuela fought hard and the team edged 14-12 ahead in the third set. But Venezuela did not seize the opportunity, whereas Cuba's Ruiz inspired her team with her remarkable heavy spikes.
Zoila Barros also stepped up, delivering 90km/h serves that ruined Venezuela's reception and finished off the third set 25-19.
Venezuela qualified for their first Olympic Women's Volleyball tournament after winning the South American Olympic Qualification in Lima, Peru, in January 2008. Qualification was secured after beating hosts Peru in the final match of the tournament.
When asked whether Venezuela would be back at the Olympic in four years, captain Jayce Andrade replied, "I hope so, it's what we're aiming for. We will try our best to make this a reality. These Olympics Games have given me more experience and I am proud of my team."