Duo Cepeda/Jimenez conduct epic win for Cuba against Tunisia


Cuba claims their domination in a hard five-sets clash

 Katowice, Poland, September 6, 2014- After five-sets clash on Saturday in Spodek, Katowice, Cuba won 3-2  (16-25, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13) over Tunisia, leaving the rival without a victory in pool B of 2014 World Championships.

With their victory today, Cuba improved their won-loss ratio to 2-2, leaving Tunisia with no won match. Nevertheless, playing tiebreak helped Tunisia team to score their first point in pool B.

Well played blocks and aggressive serves were the key to Cuba’s victory. Kills by Ernesto Jimenez helped them to win the five-sets clash. 

Key points:
• Rolando Cepeda led Cuba with 24 points, being followed by Ernesto Jimenez (23 points).
• Marouen Garci was Tunisia's top scorer with 17 points.
• Both teams scored 4 points by serves, while Cuba had a narrow advantage in blocking 12-11
• Rolando Cepeda Abreu stays forth in serves statistics after four match days.

Coming strongly into the game 4-0 ahead, Tunisia forced Cuba’s coach to ask for the timeout. Due to Ismail Moalla’s out spike, Cuba managed to reduce the opponent leading to 7-5. However, playing focused, Tunisia with Mohamed Ali Ben Othmen’s had huge spike run 11-6 ahead, putting a pressure on Rodolfo Sanchez’s players. With well-played in defence and fine spikes and ace by Omar Agrebi, Tunisia increased their leading to 8 points (17-9) and controlled the game till the end of the first set. Single spike by Rodriguez Osoria or ace displayed by Ernesto Jimenez didn’t change the scores and it was Tunisia who won the first set 25-16.

The opening of the second set was played point by point, but Cuba run out to 4-2 leading as first. After fine triple block, Rolando Cepeda’s kill and Tunisia’s mistake, they extended the advance do 4 points (8-4). Tunisia with an effective block by Samir Sellami and Hamza Nagga kept touch (10-8). After a huge spike by Miladi Ben Othmen followed by Slimene Khaled’s kill, Tunisia caught up at 17-17. This touch didn’t last long and after a triple block followed by Ernesto Jimenez’s kill, Cuba jumped out at three points (21-18). Playing confidently and presenting aggressive serves, Cuba gained 25-20 victory in the second set.

As it was at the beginning of the second set, the third part of the game started with even scores. Staying focused, Cubans gained two-points leading (8-6) at the first technical timeout. With fine reception and middle spike displayed by Felix Chapman, Cuba ran 13-9 ahead. Tunisia tried their best and with a efficient dink, they reduced Cuba’s leading to two points. Cuba with well-playing Cepeda and Jimenez were still 2-3 points ahead, but Ismail Moalla’s single blocked and his left-wing kill helped Tunisia with catching up 20-20. An exciting ending belonged to Cubas, who due to an ace played by Chapman, followed by a fine spike, finished the third set 25-23. 

During first minutes of the fourth set, score continued on a point-by-point basis. Thanks to Marouen Garci’s spikes, Tunisia jumped out to 8-4 leading. However, after efficient double and triple blocks in a row, Cuba changed the scores, leading 15-14. Nevertheless, it wasn’t Tunisia’s last word as they managed to run 21-18 ahead, mostly because of good defence and precisely prepared spikes. Ahmed Kadhi with his aggressive serve finished the third set 25-20, what led Tunisia to tie-break. 

A taught game from the very beginning of tiebreak was a spectacle of huge spikes and aggressive serves from both sides of the court. Cuba managed to led 9-7, but  playing hard defence Tunisia tried their best to catch up. Making use from Cuba’s error, Fethi Mkaouar’s players caught up at 10-10. Finally, it was Cuba who stayed focused, winning 15-13.


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