Pan Am Cup: Canada overcomes deficit to beat Mexico and advance to semifinals at Pan Am Cup

GATINEAU – Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon delivered the winning point in the last two sets as Canada defeated Mexico 22-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-18 on Thursday to advance to the semifinals at the 10-country Pan Am Cup men’s volleyball tournament.

Canada faces superpower Brazil in its final four match-up set for Friday night at 8 p.m. at the Centre Robert-Guertin in Gatineau. The other semi between the U.S., and Puerto Rico precedes that match at 6 p.m.

Also Canada earns the World League qualifying spot with the victory.

The Canadians had a rough start to the match falling behind 0-9 on an impressive service run by Mexico’s Pedro Rangel.

‘’We just played catch-up volleyball and nearly caught them,’’ said Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag. ‘’We didn’t start Gavin because he has a bit of a sore knee, but we put him back in because we really wanted to get to that semifinal. He really provides a lot on the attack and that got the flow going.’’

Schmitt completed the match with a game high 21 points ending the third set with a powerful smash that went off a Mexican player and hit the roof of the Centre Robert Guertin and the fourth set with a solid block. Fred Winters added 14 and John Perrin Gordon of Creston, B.C., 12.

‘’We started nervous and it took us a full set to really get into our game,’’ said Gordon. ‘’Once we got it rolling we just needed to work out a few kinks. Hopefully we can play at an even high level for a semifinal. We will have to be even better.’’

Daniel Vargas and Marco Macias had 11 points apiece for Mexico.

‘’We played great,’’ said Mexico’s head coach Jorge Azair. ‘’The difference between the two teams tonight was the block. Now we have to concentrate for tomorrow’s match and the rest of the competition.’’

‘’Canada have a lot of experience and they were able to adjust,’’ said Mexico’s captain Jorge Quinones. 

The schedule for Friday is

11 a.m.: 9th place match between the Bahamas and Panama.

1 p.m.: consolation semifinal – Venezuela vs Argentina

3 p.m.: consolation semifinal – Dominican Republic vs Mexico

6 p.m.: championship semifinal – U.S. vs Puerto Rico

8 p.m.: championship semifinal – Canada vs Brazil

June 16, 2011

Puerto Rico surprises itself with trip to semis at Pan Am Cup

GATINEAU - Ulises Maldonado scored a tournament high 26 points on Thursday to lead Puerto Rico to a 25-20, 25-17, 20-25, 27-25 victory over Argentina and a berth in the semifinals at the Pan Am Cup men’s volleyball tournament.

Ezequiel Cruz added 21 points for the victors in a quarterfinal match that pitted the two youngest teams of the tournament. Ricardo Archilla also had 15 points.    The Puerto Ricans definitely delivered the biggest post match celebration so far.

‘’Nobody expected us to be in the semifinals,’’ said Puerto Rico’s coach Ariel Diaz. ‘’We took advantage of their mistakes and our scouting staff did a great job’’

‘’We have been practicing for only two weeks but we just keep getting better and better,’’ said Puerto Rico’s captain Edgardo Goas. ‘’We didn’t think we had a chance to be fighting for a medal.’’

Ivan Castellani was the top scorer for Argentina with 16 points while Agustin Ramonda added 11.

‘’It was a good match but we expected a better result,’’ said a disappointed Argentinean coach Juan Manuel Cichello.

‘’We were confident we could complete the comeback,’’ added Argentina’s captain Juan Ignacio Finoli. ‘’Our goal now is to finish this tournament strong.’’

Argentina heads to the consolation semifinal.

June 16, 2011

The Dominican Republic survives scare from Bahamas to win first match

GATINEAU – The Bahamas nearly pulled a major upset but finally fell to the Dominican Republic in five sets on Thursday in a consolation quarterfinal at the Pan Am Cup men’s volleyball tournament.

The Dominicans took the match 25-20, 25-14, 22-25, 23-25, 15-12 to advance to the consolation semifinal against a loser from the championship quarterfinals later tonight. The Bahamas competing at its first ever Pan Am Cup and looking for its first victory heads to the ninth place match on Friday against Panama.

‘’There are never easy matches in this tournament,’’ said Jacinto Campechano, head coach of the Dominican Republic. ‘’We were definitely looking for a better performance but we are happy with the win.’’

Luis Pedro Garcia led the winners with 17 points while Elnis Palomino added 16 and Eduardo Concepcion 15. Princtanique Wilson of Bahamas led all scorers with 21 while his teammates Renaldo Knowles added 20 and Byron Ferguson 15.

‘’I can live with a loss like this,’’ said Bahamas head coach Raymond Wilson. ‘’Our guys showed a lot of pride coming back like they did.’’

‘’We were more consistent and had some flow,’’ added Knowles, the team captain.

June 16, 2011

Venezuela stays in contention for fifth place defeating Panama

GATINEAU, Que. - Maximo Montoya scored 14 points to lead Venezuela to a 25-20, 25-13, 25-15 victory over Panama in a consolation quarterfinal match on Thursday at the Pan American Cup men’s volleyball tournament.

With the victory Venezuela advances to the consolation semifinal to play one of the championship quarterfinal losers on Friday. Meanwhile Panama will play for ninth place on Friday against the loser of the consolation quarterfinal between the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

‘’It was an important win for us,’’ said Venezuela’s head coach Idolo Herrera. ‘’Panama has good players who know how to move. But our defence was like a wall and Panama couldn’t get through.’’

‘’We had fun tonight,’’ added Kervin Pinerua, who scored 12 points for the victors. ‘’It was an intense match and we are finding our rhythm now.’’

Jhoser Contreras also scored 12 for VenezuelaPanama’s top scorer was captain Ricardo Brown with nine.

‘’We were hoping for better,’’ said Panama’s coach Sergio Ballestas. ‘’The first set was tight but then we made too many errors.’’

‘’We used up a lot of energy in our last match against Bahamas and it showed today,’’ added Brown.