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Cuban Volleyball Players Qualify for Beijing Olympic Games
The Cuban womens volleyball team rallied before the Canadian to become the fifth squad to qualify for the Olympic Games in Beijing

Last night the Cuban womens volleyball team become the fifth squad to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, after defeating the inspired team from Canada in a series of sets (25-19, 25-9, 25-16). The matches were held as a part of the finals of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Area Pre-Olympics (NORCECA), which is taking place in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Cuban captain, Yumilka Ruiz "with 17 points" screamed aloud as the islanders clenched the victory for eighth time; that win will take them to the Olympics (where they have previously accumulated four medals: three gold and one brass). Kenia Carcasés and Nancy Carrillo (eleven points), as well as the passer Yanelis Santos (with nine points, six of them in blocking), also stood out.

In the previous pre-Olympic NORCECA matches (2003), Cuba was crowned after crushing the Dominican Republic with ample slate of 25-18, 25-18 and 25-11, while the Canadians took the bronze.
Puerto Rico wins the bronze

The Puerto Rico squad took the bronze medal to block the Dominican Republic team from reaching the podium by edging them out in defeats "3-2 (25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 15-25 and 22-20)" in one of the best encounters of the competition.
For fifth place, Mexico defeated Trinidad and Tobago 3-0 (25-5, 25-23 and 25-13).
Players of honor

Yumilka Ruiz was judged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament, as well as the leading offensive player and second best in assists. Also shining was the Boricuan Sarai Álvarez, as the best in assists, and Debora Seilhamer, for best defense.

Likewise, Canadas Tasha Holness and Larissa Cundy stood out in blocking and passing, respectively, while the Dominican Republics Cosiri Rodríguez was the best receiver.

In the end, the Mexicans recognized Célida Córdova as the best server and Xitlali Herrera as the most promising newcomer under 20 years old. These awards were established for the first time at the World Cup competitions held in Japan. Also, Cuban referee Francisco Medina received the Golden Whistle award.

(Juventud Rebelde)

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