Cuba win gold, USA qualify to Boys' U19 World Championship
Tijuana, Mexico, July 7, 2012 - Cuba outclassed Mexico in straight sets (25-14, 25-21, 25-14) to win the gold medal of the NORCECA Boys' U19 Championship while USA edged Puerto Rico in five sets (22-25, 25-19, 25-11, 26-28, 15-7) to win the bronze medal on Saturday.
The third place earned USA the last NORCECA ticket to the 2013 FIVB Boys' U19 World Championship. Cuba and hosts Mexico were already qualified to the event to be held in Tijuana and Mexicali next year.
Cuba had MVP Osmany Santiago Uriarte and Abraham Alfonso Gavilan as its best scorers with 16 points apiece. Mexico’s Alexis Garay scored 11 points while captain Mauricio Lopez added10.
“I want to congratulate both teams and we made a super natural effort with only three weeks of preparation and only seven players. They did a great job,” Cuba’s Coach Rodolfo Sánchez said after successfully defending the title they won two years ago.
The United States qualified by outdueling Puerto Rico in thrilling five-setter that lasted 120 minutes.
Earl Schultz led USA with 16 points while Connor Lammey and Kupono Fey (3 aces) each finished with 15. Mitchell Penning scored 14 and Aidan Albrecht (3 aces) contributed 12 to the winning effort.
Puerto Rico won the first set and bounced back in the fourth thanks to the work of Juan Ruiz Goyco who scored 15 points, along with Eduardo McCormack and Brian Negron (12 each) and Jose Pagan (10).
“Our goal was to come here and to qualify to the world championship,” American coach Daniel Friend said. “We have just been practicing for 10 to 11 days and the boys got better every day. I’m proud of them.”
Nicaragua recovered from a two sets deficit to finish in fifth place after a 3-2 (18-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 15-12) win over Costa Rica. Nicaragua’s Ruben Alejandro Mora had 20 points (2 aces), while Ivan Mejia, Christopher Lee Lazo and Yuriel Duarte contributed 19, 15 and 12 respectively. On the Costa Rican side, Cesar Gomez scored a match-high 23 points (3 aces) while Victor Alpizar, Jafet García each had 17 and Luis Diego Abarca tallied 15.
The US Virgin Islands finished in the seventh place after beating French Saint Martin 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21). Aseah Thomas and Jordan Evans led the US Virgin Islands with 16 points apiece. For French Saint Martin Stephane Morisseau and Ashille Brooks each tallied 12 each while Kareem Brooks added 11.