Dominicans to clash United States in NORCECA title match

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, October 12, 2019.- Dominican Republic to clash USA for the NORCECA  Women’s Continental Championship title after tie-break semifinal win 3-2 (19-25, 25-14, 26-24, 21-25, 15-8) over Puerto Rico at Roberto Clemente Coliseum of San Juan,  Puerto Rico.

This is the fourth title match between Dominican Republic and United States (2011, 2013, 2015); the U.S. has won on all three occasions.  Puerto Rico will face Canada in the bronze medal match.

In the semifinal match, it was a first rollercoaster set with intensity and speed on both sides. The host started on top with a comfortable lead, while Dominicans performed more freely to pocket the second; but the battle of the third set kept the crowd on their toes as Puerto Rico recovered from 22-24 but lost 26-24. Finally in the fourth, Puerto Rico gained control again, extending to the tie-break controlled entirely by Dominican Republic.

Both teams scored on 56 kills and 4 aces; the difference was Dominicans 14-10 margin in blocks and scoring on 32 opponent errors against 26.

Dominican Republic balanced their scoring offense led by outside hitter Brayelin Martinez with a match-high of 22 points, middle blocker Lisvel Eve contributed with 16 points including a match-high of 7 blocks, while middle blocker Jineiry Martinez recorded 14 points and outside hitter Bethania De La Cruz 13. Puerto Rico’s middle blocker Diana Reyes led with 16 points followed by outside hitter Stephanie Enright and opposite Paulina Prieto scored 14 points apiece.

Brayelin Martínez, leading scorer of Dominican Republic: “We aware it was going to be hard, we didn’t expect five sets but they did a great match and it was a great duel. We were anxious and we also committed many errors in crucial moments, Puerto Rico took advantage well and being at home, they grew and it became tougher to face. Tomorrow will be tough, United States is fast and we will go out to play for the gold medal”.

Marcos Kwiek, Head Coach of Dominican Republic: “We were expecting a fight. We failed a lot, mostly on serves, we could have won much calm but it still was a win”.

José Mieles, Head Coach of Puerto Rico: “We never will settle to lose; it’s hard to reach a fifth set against ranked seven of the world and at home. I am sad, I thought we had the chance to beat them but being behind four points in a tie-break is very hard to recover. We still haven’t won a medal and we hope it will happen tomorrow and we’ll have our moment against Dominican Republic in January”.