Canada shocks Cuba to advance to gold medal final at NORCECA Championships



GATINEAUCanada produced the biggest upset this week at the NORCECA junior men’s volleyball championships as it defeated top-seeded Cuba 22-25, 25-19, 25-7, 25-15. The victory also guarantees a spot for Canada at the 2011 world junior championships in Brazil

“This victory means a lot,” said Canada’s head coach Greg Barthel of Regina. “We came in with  a very good plan and played a very good Canadian volleyball game. I think we are creating our identity here in in Canada for volleyball.”


Matthew Schriemer of Winnipeg was dynamite for the Canadians producing 21 points. Nicholas Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que., continued to deliver bullet smashes and scored 16 while Justin Olmstead of Edmonton added 12.


“The players worked so hard together and played so hard for each other,” said Barthel. “We had a goal of being a top- two in this tournament. We are there now but we don’t want to stop.”


Canada will meet the U.S., in the championship final at 8 p.m. at the Centre Sportif in Gatineau. The Americans swept aside Puerto Rico in three sets in the other semifinal 25-15, 25-23, 25-16.


“We knew Cuba was going to come out strong,” said Canada’s captain Tristan Aubry of Edmonton. “We focused really well and played great for the rest of the game.”


The stunner in the match was third set which produced one of the most lopsided sets in the entire tournament.


“After the second set it was very bad,” said Cuba’s coach Roberto Garcia. “Our timing and tactics were off and there was no concentration in the court.


Cuba faces Puerto Rico in Saturday’s bronze medal match at 6 p.m. followed by the Canada-U.S., gold

Medal match at 8 p.m.. Both matches are at the Centre Sportif in Gatineau.

Semifinal #1 USA (4-0) vs Puerto Rico (3-2)

August 20

Great start propels USA to final and world juniors berth

GATINEAU, Que. – The U.S., blasted from the gates, withstood a serious challenge in the second set and brought it home in the third to defeat Puerto Rico 25-15, 25-23, 25-16 in the first semifinal at the NORCECA men’s junior volleyball championships.

“We executed our game plan to a tee in the first set,” said U.S., head coach John Hawks. “I don’t think we missed two serves. We kept consistent pressure on them. But we knew they would come back strong. I’m proud of our effort. We’re qualified but we are not done.”

Maurice Torres of the U.S., was the match’s top scorer with 16 points while Taylor Sander added 11. The U.S., will meet the winner of the Cuba-Canada semifinal for the championship on Saturday.

“Going to the world juniors was one of our goals going into this,” said Tyler Crabb, who earned seven points for the U.S. “We are very excited about going to Brazil next year. But there is still another goal in front us and that is to win this tournament.”

Puerto Rico was coming off a two hour marathon victory in the quarterfinal over Mexico on Thursday. But coach Ramon Lawrence said fatigue wasn’t a factor.

“We didn’t get into the rhythm of the game, we didn’t establish our block,” said Lawrence. “The game last night didn’t affect us.”

Jorge Antonio scored 13 points for Puerto Rico and Ricardo Archilla added seven. Puerto is headed to the bronze medal game with a medal and the third and final berth for the world juniors on the line.

“We have to forget about this game,” said Puerto Rico captain Ramon Burgos. “We still have the chance to go to Brazil and we are looking forward to the next game.”

7th place match: Guatemala (2-2) vs Honduras (2-3)

August 20

Seventh place finish for Guatemala at NORCECA Championships

GATINEAUGuatemala won the seventh place match over arch-rival Honduras 25-21, 25-21, 27-25 on Friday at the NORCECA junior men’s volleyball championships.

Luis Agosto Garcia Betancourt led the Guatemalan attack with 18 points while team captain Jeyson Fernando Nery Flores added 17.

‘’It’s very exciting for us to finish the tournament with a victory because Honduras are our rivals,’’ said Guatemala’s head coach William Fernandez Pizat. ‘’There is still a gap between us and the top four teams here but we are very proud to be here.’’

Jorge Rivera Murillo was the top scorer for Honduras with 11 points while Alex Rodrigo Padilla Milla added nine. 

‘’It wasn’t just enough to play with the passion,’’ said Honduran libero Miguel Milla Goody. ‘’We needed the concentration as well. Still we learned a lot from this tournament but in the end I really wanted to win this game.’’

9th place match: Martinique (2-3)  vs St. Lucia (0-5)

August 20

Martinique finishes satisfying ninth at NORCECA Championships

GATINEAUMartinique defeated St. Lucia 25-17, 25-19, 25-17 on Friday to finish in ninth place at the NORCECA men’s junior volleyball championships. St. Lucia now heads to the 10th place match against Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday.

Boris Zeline led the Martinique attack with 15 points while Yves Vadeleux added 10. Martinique completes the tournament with an overall record of two wins and three losses.

‘’We reacted well today against a team that has a completely different style than ours,’’ said Martinique head coach Eddy Salomon. ‘’This is a high level tournament and we learned some lessons. We’ll be better prepared for the next one.’’

“We felt fatigue today,’’ added Zeline. ‘’We played through it and our service game was the key. We have never played at such a high level as this week’s tournament and it was a great experience.’’

St. Lucia remained winless but would love nothing more than to return home with a victory on Saturday.

“The performance was a lot better from the previous day,” said St. Lucia’s coach Elvin Germain. “We improved our intensity and our enthusiasm to go after every ball. I hope that tomorrow we can get a win, because I think the players deserve a win, they’ve fought very hard.”

Julian Bissette was St. Lucia’s top scorer with 10 points.

“Playing at this tournament mean s so much to us,” said St. Lucia captain Gillan Octave. “To have this exposure is really good. Our fight came back today and everything was there.”

Saturday, August 21
1 p.m. 10th place match Trinidad and Tobago vs St. Lucia
3 p.m.  5th place match Mexico vs Dominican Republic
6 p.m. Puerto Rico vs Cuba
8 pm. U.S., vs Canada

 (all matches at Centre Sportif, Gatineau)