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Argentina claim gold at South American U21 Men's Championship in Bariloche

 
Bariloche, Argentina, October 24, 2016 - Hosts Argentina claimed a four-set win 3-1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-20, 25-21) against neighbours Brazil in the final of the South American U21 Men's Championship to earn a berth at next year's U21 World Championship in the Czech Republic.

The Brazilians started well, taking an 8-5 lead and stretching that to 16-12 before taking the first set. Argentina, however, battled back into the match in the second set and held on to their advantage until the end. Argentina's Felipe Benavídez top scored for the local team with 15 points.

The podium was completed by Colombia, who defeated Peru in the first match of the day 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-11).

The following players received individual awards:

MVP: Jan Martinez (Argentina)
Best setter: Ignacio Roberts (Argentina)
Best opposite: Juan Morena (Colombia)
Best outside hitters: Felipe Benavidez (Argentina) and Kaio Ribeiro (Brazil)
Best middle blockers: Juan David Hurtado (Colombia) and Agustín Loser (Argentina)
Best libero: Elias Alexandre (Brazil)

Post-match quotes:

Agustín Loser (Argentina): "We are very happy. The results of our team are incredible. Last year we could not win but we felt we deserved it, and luckily this year we could celebrate. At the beginning of the match we did not play well - we were too nervous - but then we changed attitude, concentrated and won the match."

Ignacio Roberts (Argentina): "Brazil started playing very well with outstanding spiking and we were very nervous. Fans motivated us and we knew at some time they would not fight any more. We put pressure and kept our rhythm the rest of the match and now I am very happy because we got revenge of having lost the final match of the Youth's World Championship in Chaco in 2015 against Poland, also in front of our fans. The personal award is a great prize, even though one works always as part of a team - but it is good to get such an important recognition."

Manuel Balague (Argentina): "I think we played well all along the competition. The team performances were good and we showed in the field all what the coaching team requested from us. It was an outstanding competition for us."

Miguel Ariza (Colombia): "It was a big effort of each of us including the coaching team to finish third. We could not win the gold medal - our goal - but we obtained something very important for our country. We are a family and we always fight together."

Jonathan Nakamatsu (Peru): "We tried to give our utmost but it is true that we have trained together for a short period and even though that does not justify our defeats, in the long run we will improve and grow working all together."

Ivan Villarreal (Chile): "The most important fact was our growth during the competition. We know we are new at this type of international competition. Today our blocking worked very well but we still lack experience so we must keep working. This team has many younger players but it is an investment for the future."

Nicolas Llambias (Uruguay): "We are working a lot but we still do not have our own path and we must improve a lot. We work hard in training but the pressure and the lack of experience in this kind of international competition do not help us. This was the first step in a long journey, but we must keep working."

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