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PRESS RELEASE 07/21/2006

Dominican Republic revalidated the throne at Cartagena 

CARTAGENA, Colombia, July 21, 2006.- The Dominican Republic revalidated its title as queens of women’s volleyball at the Central American and Caribbean Games following an impressive victory over Cuba in three sets by score of 32-30, 25-19, 25-22.

With the Cubans absent during the previous edition in 2002 at El Salvador, the Dominicans had very few obstacles to take the crown, but this time they left no questions while conquering the throne with a spectacular triumph over the fourth ranked team in the world.

In the first match of the evening, Puerto Rico defeated Mexico 3-0 (25-12, 25-22, 26-24) to take the bronze medal.

Following the big battle of the first set, the 11th ranked Dominicans dominated combining strong serves with big blockings.

Annerys Vargas led the Dominicans with 11 points, Cindy Rondon and Cosiris Rodriguez each had 9 and Nurys Arias added 7. Nancy Carrillo was the best on the Cuban side with 10 points and Zoila Barros and Yumilka Ruiz had 8 and 7 respectively.

“To beat a team like Cuba in three sets is a great feat,” said Cosiris Rodriguez, the Dominican captain. “Very few teams have beaten Cuba in straight sets, so it is a great honour to be part of that short list.”

The Dominican Republic also had victories over Cuba at the Pan American Cup in 2002 in Mexico and at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo. Both times the matches went to the five-set limit.

“It’s a historic victory for our team,” said Miguel Beato Cruz, the Dominican coach. “Our level of concentration was great and the team never lost the focus and took advantage of every error on the other side. The gold medal is brighter because of the victory over Cuba in straight sets.”

In the Puerto Rico’s win, siblings Aury and Eva Cruz were the best scorers with 16 and 10 points and Claudia Rodriguez and Blanca Chan led Mexico with 14 and 12 respectively.

“It has been a tough tournament,” said Aury Cruz. “We lost to the stronger teams, but we came prepared for a medal and achieved the goal.”

For the Puerto Ricans it is their first medal in 44 years at this regional multi-sport event with the previous one in 1962 at Kington, Jamaica.

“It is a great honour to break that long streak of misfortunes and I think all the people of Puerto Rico must be proud about it,” said Coach Juan Carlos Cruz.

The Final Standings: 1. Dominican Republic, 2. Cuba, 3. Puerto Rico, 4. Mexico, 5. Venezuela, 6. Colombia, 7. Costa Rica, 8. Barbados.

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