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Guatemala Men Move into Qualifier Final

May 17, 2014, 9:20 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 17, 2014) – Guatemala moved one step closer to a FIVB World Championship spot by defeating St. Lucia 25-18, 25-18, 25-19 on Saturday evening at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Guatemala’s Jeyson Nery and Andy Leonardo contributed 12 points in the victory, while Gerardo Gonzalez and Oscar Garcia added 10 points.

St. Lucia was paced by Julian Bissette’s 15 points.

Guatemala’s served proved troublesome for St. Lucia as it produced a 9-3 advantage in aces to compliment a 9-5 block advantage.

Guatemala is now 2-1 with 10 pool standings and earned a spot into Sunday’s NORCECA World Championship Pool O gold-medal final match against the favored United States. The gold-medal winner advances to the 2014 FIVB World Championship taking place in Poland. St. Lucia finished pool play with a 0-3 record.

Photos of the match can be viewed by clicking here. All NORCECA World Championship Qualification Pool O Tournament can be watched live by clicking here.

Guatemala Head Coach Alvinzi Pelaez: "This morning during practice we worked on our attack tactics. We scouted yesterday's St. Lucia match very well and identified their principle players. We planned our attacks today in an effort to neutralize St. Lucia's best players. We worked very hard on playing together as a team and having as few service errors as possible so that we could maintain control throughout the game. (On playing the USA in the finals): It's really a great satisfaction to play against a team like the USA. We have paid close attention to how their team plays and we hope to be able to use some effective tactics against them when we play tomorrow. We know that our greatest limitation is our height compared to them. We hope it's going to be a good game. The experience will help us grow as a team, which we can take to the next level."

Guatemala Captain Oscar Garcia: "We really want to thank St. Lucia for playing such a good game and we want to thank God for being on our side. Despite losing last night against the USA, we came away with a lot more confidence. We feel really good about the next game. (On playing the USA in the finals) We've got to be a little realistic. We came here to be able to get to the next level, and we are hoping that tomorrow we can play a good game against the USA and do our best."

St. Lucia Head Coach Kendall Charlery: “We have a pretty young, inexperienced group of players. The only way to get better is with exposure in tournaments such as this. The World Championship third round is new territory for us. We will hold our heads up. This tournament is giving us things to work on and get better for future tournaments.”

St. Lucia Captain Jason Octave: “We have good fight in this young team. We tend to lose focus on big points. We are neck-and-neck with our opponent until we lose those key points and cannot come back. We need to do better in that stage to extend matches. Tomorrow’s match should be a good match against Haiti. We lost to them earlier in this tournament. I hope our guys can come back, fight hard and have fun.”

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