The chants of “Cuba! Cuba!” seemed to help lift that nation’s women’s volleyball team to victory Sunday afternoon in the finals of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tour’s Cayman tournament, but it was not enough to spur the men’s team to a similar win.
A contingent of Cuban immigrants sat in the south bleachers cheering on their countrymen. It was just part of the high level of energy in the capacity crowd during the gold medal games that topped three days of play by 32 teams from 15 countries. During the Cuba-Mexico men’s matchup, there were also chants of “Mexico! Mexico!” from other sections of the stands.
The Cuban team of Leila Consuelo Martinez Ortega and Mailen Deliz Tamayo overcame Brittany Hochevar Brittany and Carly Wopat of the United States, beating them in two straight games 18-21 and 19-21. The U.S. team led the Cubans for much of the second game before Ortega and Tamayo battled back, tying the game at 19 before going on to win it.
Their fellow players Sergio Reynaldo Gonzalez Bayard and Luis Enrique Reyes Rodriguez, however, could not hold off the Mexican team of Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen, who beat them handily in both games by dominating the net, 21-18 and 21-14.
Kennedy McGowan, president of the Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation called the tournament a success.
“The quality of the play was excellent,” McGowan said. “There were some very exciting, nail-biting games, both male and female. It’s world-class volleyball.”