Cuban Volleyball to Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Cepeda MVP


Cuba won the NORCECA Men’s Volleyball  Olympic Qualification Tournament and the ticket to the Rio de Janeiro Games by defeating hosts Canada with a surprising 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-21) at the Saville Sports Centre of Edmonton on Sunday night


Rolando Cepeda registered 21 points, including five aces, to spearhead the victory, followed by Osmany Uriarte, Luis Sosa and Javier Jiménez who contributed 8, 7 and 6 points, respectively.

The strong serves and solid blocking were the key factors for the victory of a Cuban team that was in command of the actions from start to finish.

John Gordon Perrin finished with 12 points as the leading scorer of the defeated side.

The 15th world-ranked Cuba outscored the No. 10 Canada 35-26 in kills, 7-4 in blocks and 8-6 in serving aces. The winners committed 21 unforced errors to 25 by the home team.

As second place team in the competition, Canada will have a second chance to earn a ticket to Rio at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan next May.

Rolando Cepeda, Captain of Cuba: “It was about time. In 2012 we lost the chance in a five-set match with Germany. We went out looking for this victory. Winning the first match 3-0 gave us a boost in our confidence. We had suffered many losses to the Canadians and it is the first time we get a win like this against them. It is a new beginning for the Cuban volleyball and I think we have a team for the years to come. I am super happy and really don’t have good words to express myself and my feelings in this moment.”

Rodolfo Sanchez, Coach of Cuba: “I feel very, very happy, extremely happy. We were facing a strong rival but we prepared for them and studied very well to get this important victory. Our serves and blocks were fundamental for us. To qualify for the Olympic Games is really important for the Cuban volleyball and I am extremely pleased with the performance of the boys.”

Fred Winters, Captain of Canada:  “We knew it was going to come to this, us versus Cuba for the Olympic berth, and I know we didn’t play our best volleyball tonight, they played unbelievably. That was the best I’ve seen them play all year. We played them a lot and seen them play a lot this past summer and tonight was the best they’ve been. It’s tough. We just couldn’t’ stop them. Couldn’t stop their serve, and couldn’t stop them on offence either. It was a really fast game. We couldn’t change the momentum. We had the lead for a bit, but they caught fire at the service line and we couldn’t stop that.”

Sancti Spiritus Cepeda selected MVP in Edmonton

Cuban Rolando Cepeda got the lion’s share at the awards ceremony following the conclusión of the NORCECA Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament won by Cuba with a victory over hosts Canada in the decisive match on Sunday night at the Saville Sports Centre of Edmonton.

Besides taking home the honors as the Most Valuable Player, the lanky Cepeda won the awards as best opposite, best scorer and best server.

Cepeda was joined on the All-Star team by countrymen Ricardo Calvo as best setter, Osmany Uriarte as second best spiker and Livan Osoria as second best middle blocker.

Three players from Canada were included in the ideal team. John Gordon Perrin was the best spiker, Daniel Jansen Vandoorn was best middle blocker and Tyler Sander was the best digger.

Mexico’s Jorge Barajas was the best server and teammate Jesús Rangel was the best libero.

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