Brno, Czech Republic, July 1, 2017 – Cuba
delivered a major upset by defeating title-contenders Russia
in the first semifinal of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship. Miguel David Gutierrez
once again proved to be the big leader in the Caribbean squad with a fantastic all-around performance on the way to the 3-1 (25-15, 25-18, 16-25, 25-23) victory.
Gutierrez was the best scorer of the match with 19 points, including four aces and two kill blocks. His teammate Miguel Angel Lopez
added another 17 points, while middle blocker Aleksei Kononov
was Russia’s top scorer with 13 points.
With Gutierrez and Lopez spearheading Cuba’s performance in the first set, their team completely crushed the opponents towards an impressive 25-15 win. Osniel Lazaro Melgarejo
helped improve the Cuban offence even further in the second set and after a 25-18 close, they managed to double their lead. Ivan Piskarev
was on fire in set 3, which as all about Russia. The blocking contributed seven points to Russia’s 25-16 win to stay alive in the match. The fourth set was the most dramatic in the match. After falling way behind at the beginning, the Russians clawed back to catch up at 20-20, but in the end Gutierrez aced for 25-23 to get the Cuban party started.