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NEWS

Cuba grab Rio 2016 ticket

 
Cuban players celebrate after scoring the last point of the final match against Canada in the NORCECA Men's Olympic Qualification Tournament in Edmonton on Sunday
 
Edmonton, Canada, January 10, 2016 – Cuba won the NORCECA Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament and the ticket to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with their 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-21) win over Canada in front of a packed crowd at Saville Sports Centre on Sunday.

Rolando Cepeda registered 21 points, including five aces, to spearhead the victory, followed by Osmany Uriarte, Luis Sosa and Javier Jiménez who contributed eight, seven and six points, respectively.

The Cubans commanded from start to finish as they utilised strong serves and solid blocks that were key to their straight-set victory.

John Gordon Perrin helped the losing side with a team-high of 12 points.

The Cuban side outscored the top-ranked Canadian team in kills 35-26, in blocks 7-4, and in service aces 8-6. The winners committed 21 unforced errors to 25 by the home team.

As second place team in the competition, Canada will have another chance to earn a ticket to Rio at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan next May.

“I feel extremely happy,” Cuba coach Rodolfo Sanchez said. “We faced a strong rival but we prepared for them and studied them very well to get this important victory. Our serves and blocks were fundamental for us. To qualify for the Olympic Games is really important for the Cuban volleyball and I am extremely pleased with the performance of the boys.”

Cuban captain Rolando Cepeda was emotional and overjoyed of their victory after many defeats against Canada in the past.

“It is about time. In 2012, we lost the chance in a five-set match with Germany. We went out looking for this victory. Winning the first match 3-0 gave us a boost in our confidence. We had suffered many losses to the Canadians and it is the first time we got a win like this against them. It is a new beginning for Cuban volleyball and I think we have a team for the years to come. I am super happy and really don’t have enough good words to express myself and my feelings at this moment.”

Canadian captain Frederic Winters commended their opponents’ prolific performance and admitted that they failed on so many aspects in the game.

“We knew it was going to come to this, us versus Cuba for the Olympic berth, and I know we didn’t play our best volleyball tonight, they played unbelievably. That was the best I’ve seen them play all year. We played them a lot and seen them play a lot this past summer and tonight was the best they’ve been. It’s tough. We just couldn’t’ stop them. We couldn’t stop their serve, and couldn’t stop them on offence either. It was a really fast game. We couldn’t change the momentum. We had the lead for a bit, but they caught fire at the service line and we couldn’t stop that.”

Meanwhile, Mexico made a sensational comeback to defeat Puerto Rico 3-2 (23-25, 16-25, 26-24, 26-24, 15-10) in the match for third place.

Jorge Barajas and Nestor Orellana led Mexico with 16 and 15 points, respectively, while Ivan Marquez and Gonzalo Ruiz contributed 12 and 10 in the victory.

Puerto Rico’s Sequiel Sanchez had a match-high 22 points, followed by Maurice Torres with 17. Mannix Roman and Enrique Escalante finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the loss.

Mexico outblocked Puerto Rico 13-4 while the losing side won the battle of the aces 10-5.

By finishing in third place Mexico remained in contention for an Olympic berth and will be competing at the second World Olympic Qualification Tournament in May against the third placed team from South America and the second and third place teams from Africa for the last spot in the twelve-team field in Rio de Janeiro.

“The boys played like warriors,” Mexico coach Jorge Azair. “That’s the best way to describe their way of playing in the last three sets. They showed a lot of character when we almost had the last nail on the coffin. Now, we will continue chasing our Olympic dream.”

NORCECA 2016 Men’s Olympic Qualifier in Edmonton, Canada

Canada d Mexico 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-16) on January 8
Cuba d Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 33-31) on January 8

Canada d Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-23) on January 9
Cuba d Mexico 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-23) on January 9

Mexico d Puerto Rico 3-2 (23-25, 16-25, 26-24, 26-24, 15-10) on January 10
Cuba d Canada 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-21) on January 10

Top Scorer by Day
23- Rolando Cepeda of Cuba v Puerto Rico on January 8
15- Osmany Uriarte of Cuba v Mexico on January 9
22- Sequiel Sánchez of Puerto Rico v Mexico on January 10

Top Scoring Performances
23- Rolando Cepeda of Cuba v Puerto Rico on January 8
22- Sequiel Sánchez of Puerto Rico v Mexico on January 10
21- Rolando Cepeda of Cuba v Canada on January 10
17- Maurice Torres of Puerto Rico v Mexico on January 10
16- Jorge Barajas of Mexico v Canada on January 8
16- Jorge Barajas of Mexico v Puerto Rico on January 10

Top Blocking Performances
6- Daniel Jansen Vandoorn of Canada v Puerto Rico on January 9
4- Daniel Jansen Vandoorn of Canada v Mexico on January 8
4- Livan Osoria of Cuba v Canada on January 10

Top Serving Performances
5- Rolando Cepeda of Cuba v Canada on January 10
3- Rolando Cepeda of Cuba v Puerto Rico on January 8
3- Tyler Sanders of Canada v Puerto Rico on January 9
3- Osmany Uriarte of Cuba v Mexico on January 9
3- Ricardo Calvo of Cuba v Mexico on January 9
3- Enrique Escalante of Puerto Rico v Mexico on January 10
3- Mannix Roman of Puerto Rico v Mexico on Januiary 10

Top Team Blocking Performances
13- Cuba v Puerto Rico on January 8
13- Mexico v Puerto Rico on January 10
11- Canada v Puerto Rico on January 9

Top Team Serving Performances
10- Puerto Rico v Mexico on January 10
8- Cuba v Canada on January 10
7- Mexico v Canada on January 8
7- Cuba v Mexico on January 9

Highest Scoring Sets
33-31 Cuba v Puerto Rico (3rd Set) on January 8
26-24 Mexico v Puerto Rico (3rd Set) on January 10
26-24 Mexico v Puerto Rico (4th Set) on January 10

Highest Scoring Matches
214- Mexico d Puerto Rico 3-2 (23-25, 16-25, 26-24, 26-24, 15-10) on January 10

Individual Awards
Best Scorer- Rolando Cepeda (OP) - CUB
Best Opposite- Rolando Cepeda (OP) - CUB
Best Spiker- John Gordon Perrin (OH) - CAN
Best Spiker- Osmany Uriarte (OH) - CUB
Best Blocker- Daniel Jansen Vandoorn (MB) - CAN
Best Blocker- Livan Osoria (MB) - CUB
Best Server- Rolando Cepeda - CUB
Best Digger- Tyler Sanders - CAN
Best Setter- Ricardo Calvo – CUB
Best Receiver – Jorge Barajas – MEX
Best Libero- Jesús Rangel – MEX
Most Valuable Player (MVP) – Rolando Cepeda – CUB

Click here for the results.




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