Bethania De La Cruz: Success Everywhere She Goes


LAUSANNE, Switzerland, February 2, 2021 - The Dominican Republic women’s national team has emerged as one of the main forces of international volleyball over the last decade and if one player were to be the face of their success in the period, it would certainly be Bethania de la Cruz.


The 33-year-old outside hitter has had a prominent role with the ‘Reinas del Caribe’ (The Caribbean Queens, in Spanish) since she first joined the team in 2006, and was a key factor in their accomplishments over the last decade.


“Since a very young age, she got used to performing really well in the biggest tournaments. It’s really unusual when she's not one of the best hitters or servers,” Dominican Republic national team head coach Marcos Kwiek said. “She’s the face of our team and the best role model we could ever have for our younger players. Her offensive skills are easily among the best in the world and she’s been one of our main scoring options for years. Bethania is a hard worker and she never stopped getting better.”


Born in the country’s capital Santo Domingo, Bethania has had the privilege of playing with arguably the two strongest generations of players the Dominican Republic has ever produced.


When she joined the national team, teammates included the legendary Milagros Cabral, Annerys Vargas and Prisilla Rivera. The current roster has younger, but not less talented names, like star libero Brenda Castillo and the Martinez sisters Brayelin and Jineiry.


“I joined the national team at a very young age and immediately had a spot in the starting lineup,” she told Volleyball World. “To see that several years later I’m still an important player for my country, it makes me really proud. To be called for the national team, that’s a huge honour, but not many athletes manage to maintain a relevant role for so long.”


Bethania de la Cruz has led the Dominicans to some remarkable results over the last 15 years. Among them a gold medal at the 2019 Pan-American Games, back-to-back titles at the NORCECA Championships in 2017 and 2019 and the country’s best-ever finishes at both the FIVB Volleyball World Championship (fifth in 2014) and the FIVB World Cup (seventh in 2015 and 2019).


The results that make Bethania proudest, however, are the Olympic qualifications for the London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics. After helping her country finish fifth eight years ago in the British capital, the Dominican is determined to take her team to medal contention this year in Japan.


“Qualifying the Dominican Republic for the Olympics is a huge accomplishment,” the top scorer of the 2011 World Cup reflected. “We’re a small country and it’s a big accomplishment every time we can do it. The first time in London was very special for the entire country but to win the Olympic qualifier at home in Santo Domingo and qualify for Tokyo, especially after having missed that chance in Rio, it was also remarkable.”


Bethania de la Cruz has also been fortunate to enjoy a successful club career and has represented Dominican volleyball in great fashion in virtually every corner of the world, having played in Puerto Rico, Japan, Korea, Turkey, Russia, Italy and Indonesia. Next she is set to appear in the recently-created professional league in the United States.


The Dominican has won the national title in as many as five different countries and tested herself in the strongest club competition on the planet, taking Turkey’s Eczacibasi Vitra Istanbul to victory in the 2014-2015 European Champions League when she was considered the best outside hitter of the tournament. A few months later, the team went on to win the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship.


“I have nothing to complain about my career in clubs,” she joked. “I’ve been very successful everywhere I played and to win a strong league like the Russian one with two different clubs was fantastic. And I’m the only player in my country to have won the Champions League, which is a huge honour.”