Dubai, United Arab Emirates, August 30, 2015 – Turkey electrified the spectators with a scintillating straight sets win (25-19, 25-18, 27-25) against Cuba in the 2015 Men's U23 World Championship's semifinal at Al Nasr Hall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
Turkey qualified to their first final at this age category to face the winner of the other semifinal Russia against Italy on Monday, while Cuba play for the bronze medal against the losers.
In the process the winners recorded their fifth win in six encounters in their campaign, while Cuba suffered the first loss in six matches. Star outside hitter Gokhan Gokgoz led the Turkey's scoring with 21 points while opposite attacker Metin Toy added 17 to his team record. For Cuba, middle blocker Abrahan Alfonso delivered 14 points with Osoria Rodriguez chalking up another 10 equal to Osmany Uriarte.
The winners led the match through the sharp serving making over a wide lead of 9/1 in ace services with another remarkable lead 45/35 in spiking and 9/7 in stuff blocks to make the Cubans opportunity very difficult.
Turkey started with a motivated action to score the first point before they continued leading 8-7 at the 1st TTO with stunning spikes from Emre Senol and Metin Toy. Cuba reacted temporarily with deploying their blockers against the sharp Turkish attacks, but they can't as the European side increased the point difference to 16-12 in the 2nd TTO. Turkey keep the rhythm and reached 19-15 with Gokhan Gokgoz quick attack. With Toy's ace turkey was ahead 22-17 and with another spike from position 2, his team concluded the set at 25-19.
Turkey maintained the pressure through the razor sharp spike service through Gokgoz and Toy to mark 8-6 at the 1st TTO. Cuba deployed their blockers to turn over the result to 9-8 and they used the outside hitters Uriarte and Alfonso to keep the rhythm, but Turkey's spikers Gokgoz and Burak Gungor again worked very well in attacks aided by the disciplined defence so the Turkish team regained the lead 18-13. Cuba struggled to save the set, but the Turkish team was too strong to be stopped to the Cubans as they won 25-18 to improve the score to 2-0.
With a tricky tipping from Gokgoz, Turkey opened the score in the third set and with frequent spike services from Toy and Gokgoz they maintained the pressure to lead 4-1. Again Toy spiked from position 2 to keep increase the point deficit to 8-3. Turkey's middle blockers Faik Gunes and Emre Savas increased the pressure through the impermeable blocks to keep the point difference widely 11-4. Cuba started to wake up through the quick attacks through Osoria Rodriguez to narrow the score to 12-8. Turkey succeeded to keep difference at 16-12 in the 2nd TTO. Cuba made a pressure with Alfonso's attacks to reach 16-15. With reception errors for the Cubans, Turkey stayed ahead against 21-19 before Cuba draw for the first time 23-23. Cuba's Ricardo Calvo missed a service and the draw maintained 25-25, before Turkey finished the set 27-25 and the match in straight sets.