Cuba faces Dominican Republic on Wednesday in the third match of the opening day of the Norceca Men’s Volleyball Championship being held in Durango, Mexico.
The tournament awards two slots to the World Championship, to be held in Russia, in a year’s time, and points for the qualifying ranking to the Pan American Games of Chile 2023.
The match is scheduled for 6 p.m. (local time). In Cuba’s group -B-, the United States and Guatemala will also face each other at 1:00 p.m.
Other matches on this opening day at the Norceca are Canada-Puerto Rico (3:00 p.m.) and Mexico-Trinidad and Tobago (8:00 p.m.).
Preliminary group matches will continue on August 19 and 20, with the winners advancing directly to the semifinals.
Second and third place finishers from groups A and B will face each other in the quarterfinals on August 21 in a crossover system; the winners will compete for the medals and the losers will play for the fifth through eighth places (August 22). On August 23, the bronze and gold medals will be disputed in that order.
Cuba, defending champion, is the country that has won the most in this tournament (16), in addition to five silver medals and four bronze medals.
It is followed by the United States with nine golds, 11 silvers and four bronzes, and Canada, with a cumulative record of 1-5-14.
The Cuban team is composed of corner players Miguel Angel Lopez (captain), Julio Cesar Cardenas, Yohan Armando Leon and left-handed Alejandro Rodriguez, and opposites Jesus Herrera, Yoandry Charles and Miguel David Gutierrez.
The middle blockers of the squad are José Israel Massó, Alexei Ramírez, Endriel Alberto Pedroso and Tomás Lescay; and the setters, Adrián Goide and Liván Taboada, and the libero Yonder García.
Technical director Yosvany Muñoz will have Ángel González as assistant coach. Completing the group are doctor Ramses Raymond, physiotherapist Pedro Roche, international referee Frank Medina and Cuban volleyball technical manager Omelio Castillo, head of the delegation.
Muñoz said the day before at the technical meeting that “we face all competitions with the mentality of winning. The team is a fusion of young players with experience and other very young inexperienced players.”
“Due to the COVID-19 we could not gather most of the key players, so the group is made up of those closest to Havana and we have been preparing for 20 days,” he said.