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The Cuban team defeated the United States in straight sets (25-17, 25-17 and 25-20), to retain the Norceca U19 Continental Volleyball Championship crown. The competition recently took place in Costa Rica, where both teams secured tickets to the 2019 U19 World Championships.

With a powerful attack and in good physical form, the Cuban team won their fifth title of the competition, and second consecutive championship crown, while the U.S. secured its fifth silver medal in the third final to date, reports Carolina Rivas.

Top scorers for the Cuban team were Alexei Ramírez (12) and José Miguel Gutiérrez (11), the only players to reach double digits during the match, while Clarke Godbold (7) with the most points for the U.S. team.

Cuba finished top of B after defeating Honduras, Guatemala, and the United States, advancing straight to the semifinals, where it triumphed against Guatemala, 3-0.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico defeated Guatemala 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-13, 25-17) to take the bronze medal, with the latter coming in fourth followed by Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

Cuban setter Christian Thondike was named the Most Valuable Player, and also won the award for best setter and server.

Meanwhile, his teammates José Miguel Gutiérrez and Víctor Andreu won prizes for best outside hitters, Luis Allen and Yeyco Jiménez for best blockers; Alexei Ramírez best opposite; and Ricardo Gómez best receiver.

The all star team was completed by Jordan Carcache of Nicaragua, best libero and defender, as well as top scorer David Ismalej, of Guatemala. (Jit)