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Cuba beats Serbia in World Volleyball League

The Cuban mens volleyball team swept to a 3-0 victory Sunday against a tough Serbia, which had come from behind to beat the islanders 3-2 on Saturday.

The World Volleyball League Group C match up took place before a packed 5,500 seat Vojvodina Arena. The mission for the Cubans was two-pronged: vary their attack from the center and lateral positions and put up a wall of hands above the net to stop top Serbians like center Andrija Geric.

The first set was won 25-18 by Cuba in only 22 minutes led by the attacks of Michael Sanchez from the corners, Roberlandy Simon from the center and devastatingly hard shots for defenders by the "little" Pedro Iznaga.

Despite the win, there is still room for improvement. The team gave away points on receiving with serves falling between players, sometimes the players argue amongst each other on the court and they need that touch to put a successful end to close sets. However, their heart is undeniable against more experienced rivals.

The second set was similar to the first, winning 25-16 in 23 minutes, led by Oriol Camejo who did justice to Sanchez and Iznagas first set performance. The speed shown by the Cubans on the court kept the pressure constantly on the Serbians.

The third set opened with a quick 12-5 lead. The Serbians were able to inch closer at 13-8 but the Cubans coached by Orlando Samuels went on to win 25-16.

Cuba is now second in Group C with a 5-3 record behind Russia which is 7-1. The islands team travels to Russia on Tuesday for two key match ups next weekend.


The Cuban team fell apart on Saturday in Belgrade after easily taking the first two sets 25-15 and 25-18. Mental errors and a lack of concentration allowed Serbia to take the third and fourth sets 25-19 and 27-25. The tie break was an embarrassing 15-6.

In the fourth set the Cubans were up 25-24 when a block appeared to give them the victory but there had been an infraction at the net to give Serbia a tie. The Europeans then took the next two points to win.

Led by center Roberlandy Simon, Cuba had a whopping 18 successful blocks in the five sets, with 8 in the second set.

Both the teams leading scorer Michael Sanchez and his substitute Raydel Corrales had poor nights and Yoandri Diaz made several bad passes. Pedro Iznaga led the offense with 15 points.

While the team was able to effectively receive the hard serves Saturday from their rivals, there was a lack of team work which contributed to the loss. Experienced players like Pavel Pimienta, Odelvis Dominico and Tomas Aldazabal contributed little for a sextet with a majority of rookies in their lineup.

Weekend World Volleyball League Results:

RESULTADOS: Group A: Brazil 3, Canada 0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-13); Brazil 3, Canada 1(25-14, 20-25, 25-22, 25-18). Finland 3, South Korea 1 (25-22, 26-24, 22-25, 25-19); Finland 3, South Korea 1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-17). Group B: USA 3, Italy 1 (25-21, 25-21, 25-27, 29-27); USA. 3, Italia 0 (25-19, 30-28, 25-23). France 3, Japan 0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-20). Group C: Russia 3, Egypt 0 (25-19, 25-8, 25-15); Russia 3, Egypt 1(24-26, 26-24, 25-17, 25-22); Serbia 3, Cuba 2 (15-25, 18-25, 25-19, 27-25, 15-6); Cuba 3, Serbia 0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-16). Group D: Bulgaria 3, China 0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-18); Bulgaria 3, China 0 (25-22, 26-24, 29-27).

Source: Alfonso Nancianceno, Granma


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