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Cuba squeeze past Czech Republic

Cuban Kenia Carcaces (L) finished with 22 points in the victory over the Czech Republic and Yoana Palacios (R) contributed 14 points

Nagoya, Japan, November 9, 2010 – Cuba claimed a four-set victory (25-22, 28-30, 25-22, 25-23) over the Czech Republic on the third day of second-round Pool F play in the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championship at Nippon Gaishi Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

This was a crucial match for both teams. They were tied with six points each entering the match, and a loss would likely have eliminated any hope of advancing to the semifinals. The Cubans had lost three straight games (two in the second round) coming in, while the Czechs had dropped two in a row.

FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page

The Czechs had the edge in the blocking department (12-11) and both sides registered six service winners. In the errors category Cuba committed 30 while the Czech Republic made 31. Kenia Carcaces was the key force again for Cuba as she finished with 22 points. Yoana Palacios and Rachel Sanchez each compiled 14 points while veteran Yanelis Santos came off the bench to contribute nine points including four blocks and some strong and valuable serves. Helena Havelkova and Aneta Havlickova formed a fierce tandem for the Czech Republic, both finishing with 20 points.

The first set was a tough battle all the way. Cuba led 16-14 at the second TTO and surged ahead to take it 25-22. Havlickova was outstanding for the Czechs in the opening set, scoring nine points.

Jiri Siller's team started fast in the second set, moving out to a 12-7 lead before Yoana Palacios made an amazing save for the Cubans when they trailed 18-16. She dived over her team's bench to keep the ball in play, knocking over the side-boarding in the process. Cuba fought back to tie it at 25-25, but they could not overtake the Czechs and fell 30-28.

At 22-22 in the third set, Carcaces soared for two straight spikes to put Cuba up 24-22 and a Czech spike was long to give the Cubans the set. The Czech Republic held a narrow 16-15 lead at the second TTO in the fourth set, but Cuba edged ahead and closed out the match 25-23. Cuba will play Italy on Wednesday, while the Czech Republic face Thailand.

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