USA beat Cuba in five sets and advanced to Semifinals
CHARLESTON, W.Va., USA (Sept. 7, 2023) – The USA held off a tough
challenge from Cuba to win their match and their pool 3-2 (25-22, 25-17,
24-26, 22-25, 15-12) on Thursday at the NORCECA Senior Men’s Continental
Championship at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
The USA (3-0) will advance straight to Saturday’s semifinal while Cuba
(2-1) will play Mexico (0-2) in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Cuba finished the match holding an edge in in kills (59-57) while the
USA led in blocks (17-7) and aces (6-5). Each team finished with 31
scoring errors. Cuba made four errors in the fifth set while the U.S.
Men had two.
U.S. outside hitter T.J. DeFalco led all scorers with 26 points on a
match-high 19 attacks, a match-high six blocks and one ace. Outside
hitter Aaron Russell added 20 points on 17 kills, two blocks and one
ace. Middle blocker Max Holt totaled 12 points on seven spikes, three
blocks and two aces.
Outside hitter Marlon Yant led Cuba with 22 points on 18 kills and four
blocks. Opposite Jesus Herrera added 14 points on 13 kills and one ace.
Outside hitter Miguel Angel Lopez totaled 13 points on 10 kills and a
match-high three aces.
U.S. Coach John Speraw: “Before this tournament, we haven’t competed for
a month and I thought it was important for us to be tested. If we want
to be the best team that we can be this summer, it’s going to require
some stress. We certainly had some stress tonight. We will learn from
this so we can be better. Cuba played great. Being down 0-2, they had a
nice match and got better and better. Credit to them. I am just glad we
were able to make some good plays in the fifth set.”
Cuba Coach Jesus Angel Cruz Lopez: “As everyone observed, it was a good
volleyball match. The United States played very well towards the end
with fewer errors than us and secured the victory. As a team, this match
allows us to have a better vision of what level of play we are reaching,
which is our main goal. I believe we will meet again in the final.”