Belize national under-23 men’s volleyball team won fourth place, but fell short of the bronze medal at the Central American U-23 volleyball championships at the Jorge Galeano Gymnasium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, last Saturday, July 14.
Belize lost the bronze medal match 2-3 to Honduras, who were playing before a home crowd of fans, even though Belize actually scored more points; 107 to Honduras’ 104. Led by Karym Coleman’s 17 pts and Jaleel Lino’s 15 pts, the Belize men forced the Hondurans to go to extra points to win the first set 26-24. But with Keith Castillo’s five blocks and Arnie Augustine also scoring three blocks, the Belize boys won the second set: 25-17.
Karym Coleman also served up an ace and with libero Keegan Ack digging up 19 saves and Ivan Lino also scooping up 10 digs, the Belize men took the third set 25-22. Unfortunately Belize lost the initiative at this point, as Honduras’ Allan Padilla and Ricardo Vasquez with 11 pts each led the Hondurans to a 25-23 victory in the fourth set.
Belize got the benefit 33 pts on their opponents’ errors, but the Belize men also gave up 38 pts on errors. The hosts clinched the victory by a score of 15-10 the fifth decisive set.
Belize narrowly missed a berth in the finals when we lost to silver medalists, Costa Rica, 2-3 in the semifinals Friday evening.
Alberto Blanco with 26 pts and Ricky Vargas with 16 pts led the Costa Ricans to win the first set 25-20, but Belize’s counterattack rallied behind Ivan Lino with 16 spikes and Jaleel Lino scored 15 as they won the second set 25-12.
Keith Castillo had four blocks and Evir Aranda blocked twice and Karym Coleman served up an ace, but the Costa Ricans took the third set 25-17. Libero Keegan Ack dug up 14 saves, while Arnie Augustine also got down to scoop up 4 digs. Evir Aranda set the ball perfectly 10 times and the Belize men won the fourth set 25-18. Belize also got 23 pts off their opponents’ errors, but the Costa Ricans went on to win the fifth set 15-7.
Belize had advanced to semifinals by a three-set victory over Nicaragua on Wednesday, July 11. Belize scored 33 spikes. Jaleel Lino and Keith Castillo led the attack with seven spikes each, while Keith also produced four blocks and Arnie Augustine blocked twice. Belize entered the semifinals when Nicaragua eliminated El Salvador in four sets: 25-20, 25-23, 23-25 and 25-17.
It was sweet revenge for Belize who had lost 2-3 to El Salvador in their opening match on Tuesday evening. Arnie Augustine led the Belize attack with 15 pts, hammering home 10 spikes, four blocks and serving up an ace as Belize won the first set 25-23. Jaleel Lino also had 15 pts, hitting 12 spikes and serving two aces, but El Salvador won the second set 25-16. Karym Coleman had eight blocks, and Ivan Lino had six and Raluni Bernardez five as Belize won the third set 25-20. Keegan Ack dug up 10 saves in 16 good receptions, Ivan Lino also had nine digs but the Salvadorans won the fourth set 25-16. Belize got 40 pts on El Salvador’s errors, but gave up 58 pts to El Salvador on errors.