FIVB - Volleyball World League

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Cuba outlast Turkey in tough five-setter to capture World League Group 3 gold


Cuba's Isbel Mesa spiking in the final of World League group 3 against Turkey

Bursa, Turkey, June 29, 2014- World No 7 Cuba kept their momentum going against hosts Turkey (No 45), notching a thrilling win in a tough five setter 3-2 (24-26, 25-19, 20-25, 25-21, 16-14) to claim the gold medal of the FIVB World League Group 3 in the final match held at Bursa Cengiz Gollu Volleyball Hall on Sunday. 

Cuba achieved the second win against Turkey in three matches in their history after two meetings in Pool F this season. Both teams booked one 3-1 victory in the intercontinental round. Turkey was the only nation that managed to beat Cuba in this year's World League during the intercontinental round. 

Cuba's captain Rolando Cepeda led the match scorers with impressive 28 points which is the second best scoring performance in group 3 finals followed by Santiago Uriarte 22. Opposite Toy Metin contibuted 17 for Turkey as best scorer from his side followed narrowly by Togray Dogan 16. 

 Turkey had marvelous start with the exciting support from their spectators as their setter Arslan Eksi led the combinations using the opposite Metin Toy and the efficient outside hitter Burak Gungor to lead 8-6 at the first TTO. Cuba tried to improve their reception which was the worst of their skills, but again Turkey players ued the service o widen the score to 13-9. Turkey kept their leading utill they were 23-20 when Cuba scored 3 consecutive points to draw with their captain Rolando Cepeda doing a great show. Again Turkey came back with their opposite Toy to win the set 26-24. 

 Cuba started the second set more stable in reception and blocking and thus they had a wide lead 8-5 at the first TTO. Turkey team committed frequent mistakes as Cuba's Santiago Uriarte started to use his unstoppable hits from position 4 beside the usual role of Cepeda to widely lead 14-7. Turkey tried to save the set by making a pressure through the blockers, but Cuba succeeded to win the set comfortably 25-19. 

 Turkey regained their rhythm in the third set as they improved their reception and used the combinations led by the setter Eski to lead 8-5 at the first TTO. Cuba worked very well in reception and started to use the deceiving combinations to draw 9-9. the great support from the Turkish spectators pushed them to do more efforts in their way to lead 16-12. Turkey dominate the court and prevented the Cubans from coming back to win the set 25-20.

 Cuba started the fourth set in another form as they were disciplined in defense and reception more than the other sets and led 8-6 at the first TTO with the aid of their setter Leandro Macias who conducted the team also to widen the score to 10-5. Turkey's outside hitter Turgay Dogan did a good job in an attempt to come back and succeeded to keep the point difference at 16-10 for Cuba. Again Turkey team used the spike and tactical service to put the Cubans under pressure as they came back relatively, but Cuba succeeded to win the set 25-21 to draw 2-2 and extend the match too tiebreak.

 Turkey surprised their opponent with four strong spike services from Aydin Yasin to lead 4-0 from reception mistakes until Cepeda opened the score for the Cubans and again with the service of Ernesto Jimenez they leveled the score to 4-4. The score continued to 7-7 before Turkey made it narrowly 8-7 at the court turn. The match had become very excited with the great support from the spectators when Turkey led 10-8 before the Cubans made it 10-10 with fine touches. Aydin made a crucial draw 12-12 before Cuba lost a service at the match point 14-13, But the Cuban captain again Cepeda served well at 15-14 to get the winning point for Cuba. 

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