It will be the fourteenth time the two teams face each other in the gold medal match in the 22 editions of the competition with Cuba prevailing nine times including the previous one in 2009.
Defending champions Cuba and Olympic gold medalists United States once again will face in the final match of the Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship on Saturday night at Palacio de los Deportes in Mayaguez.
The fourteen-time champions Cuba and seven-time monarchs United States are the only countries crowned at the regional competition, a qualifier to the FIVB Men’s World Cup next November where three tickets are available to the 2012 London Olympic Games.
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In Friday’s semifinals, Cuba won a five-set battle against Canada 3-2. Cuba’s Wilfredo Leon and Fernando Hernandez pounded 28 and 26 points respectively to lead the victory over Canada. Henry Bell and Isbel Mesa chipped in with 13 apiece. Gavin Schmitt had 25 for the defeated side while Fred Winters added 15 points.
“Each match is becoming more and more difficult,” Leon said. “It is great to be again in the final but still we need to correct some deficiencies.”
United States outclassed hosts Puerto Rico 21-2 in the blocking category en route to a straight-set victory. Matt Anderson topped the scores of United States with 15 points while Maxwell Holt and David Lee registered 7 and 6 blocks respectively as the winners outclassed the host team 21-2 in the blocking department.
“I think we came prepared and our mind set is to win the tournament and qualify to the World Cup,” USA’s Clayton Stanley stated. “Puerto Rico made us work for it.”