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Brazil wins fourth Pan Am Games gold medal

Brazil celebrate their gold medal after disposing of Cuba in five sets in Guadalajara, Mexico on Thursday
Guadalajara, Mexico, October 20, 2011 – Brazil won its fourth Pan American Games gold medal in women’s volleyball tournament on Thursday after edging Cuba 3-2 (25-15, 21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-10) in a thrilling final played in front of a packed house at Avila Camacho Sport Complex in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The South American side had also claimed the title in the editions of 1959, 1963 and 1999 in Chicago, Sao Paulo and Winnipeg respectively. For the eight-time champions Cuba it was it’s a third silver medal in the history of the event.

The victory proved to be revenge for the Brazilian squad who lost to Cuba, also in five sets, four years ago.

“By winning the Pan American Games gold medal we did something important for our country and for this generation of players,” coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes said. “It was a very tough match against a Cuban team that played very good.”

“Cuba is a very young team that must improve its game for the Olympic Games,” he added. “We lost the fourth set but in the tie-break everything worked since the very beginning. The most important thing is that this was a team victory.”

Sheila Castro and Mari Steinbrecher each contributed 15 points to the victory while Fabiana Claudino added 13. Paula Pequeno and Fernanda Rodrigues scored 11 apiece as the other two players to reach double figures.

Cuba’s Yoana Palacios and Kenia Carcaces each scored 18 points while Yusidey Silie and Ana Cleger added 12 and 10 respectively.

“Brazil is a great team and we went out to defend the crown we won four years ago,” Cuba’s Juan Carlos Gala said. “We had said that we would battle point by point and we did it. This experience will help us to see what we need to improve. Our team could recover after a tough start. I am happy with this medal, is a silver medal that tastes like gold because I saw a very young team that played a wonderful match.”

USA v Dominican Republic
The United States defeated the Dominican Republic 3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-19) to claim bronze medal as their effective blocking helped them seal a place on the podium. They scored 22 points with at the net, including seven from Jessica Jones. Cynthia Barboza led the winning side with 23 points while Lauren Gibbemeyer added 16 with five blocks. Angela Forsett and Jones registered 15 and 12 respectively. Dominican Republic’s Bethania De la Cruz had a match-high 26 points while Prisilla Rovera and Lisvel Eve added 15 and 11 respectively.

Puerto Rico v Peru
Puerto Rico defeated Peru in straight sets (25-23, 25-20, 25-19) in the match for fifth place. Sarai Alvarez and Aury Cruz were the most outstanding scorers for Puerto Rico with 18 and 14 points respectively with Cruz recording three aces. Peru’s Carla Rueda registered 14 points while Claivett Yllescas and Patricia Soto charted 11 and 10.

Canada v Mexico
Tammy Mahon scored 24 points to lead Canada to a 3-1 (19-25, 25-17, 26-24, 25-15) victory over Mexico in the match for seventh place. Elizabeth Cordonier and Sherline Holness added 14 and 13 points for a Canadian team that held a 15-5 advantage in blocks. Mexico’s Andrea Rangel had 22 points and Samantha Bricio contributed 10.

Individual awards
MVP: Yoana Palacios (CUB); Best Scorer: Bethania De la Cruz (DOM); Best Spiker: Yoana Palacios (CUB); Best Blocker: Lauren Gibbemeyer (USA); Best Server: Gyselle Silva (CUB); Best Setter: Danielle Lins (BRA); Best Receiver: Brenda Castillo (DOM); Best Digger: Brenda Castillo (DOM); Best Libero: Brenda Castillo (DOM).

Final positions
1, Brazil, 2. Cuba, 3. United States, 4. Dominican Republic, 5. Puerto Rico, 6. Peru, 7. Canada. 8. Mexico.


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