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Historic victory for Dominican Republic over Cuba 

MEXICALI, Baja California, June 9, 2006.- The Dominican Republic achieved a historic triumph by defeating Cuba in four sets (25-23, 28-26, 21-25, 25-20) during the quarterfinals of the First Men’s Pan American Volleyball Cup.

It was the first victory of a Dominican men’s team over Cuba in the last 44 years, with the previous one attained at the Central American and Caribbean Games held in Jamaica in 1962.

Elvis Contreras and Jose Caceres scored 26 and 23 points respectively leading the Dominican attack with Eury Almonte adding 9. Raidel Gonzalez was the top Cuban scorer with 18 points and Yadier Sanchez added 14.

“I know this triumph is going to make happy a lot of people in our country,” said Julio Frias, the Dominican coach. “We have defeated a very powerful team.”

“Our reception was good and it allowed us to set the attack, and we also served better tonight,” he added.

“The team had an extra motivation playing against Cuba and we entered the court with a lot of determination,” said Contreras. “They are a young team but with great quality and very talented.”

The Dominican Republic plays against Mexico in the semifinals of Saturday and Canada meets USA. Cuba and Panama will play for the fifth position.

The Dominicans led 8-4 and 16-12 in the first set with Contreras and Caceres leading the offence, and then held off a Cuban late reaction (23-22), with Contreras hitting a bomb for the winner.

The second set was a sensational battle with the Dominicans winning in their fourth chance with a spike by Contreras followed by a serving ace of Cristian Cruz. Two spikes by Raidel Gonzalez and a block by Osmany Camejo saved the Cubans in the first three set-point situations.

Cuba led 8-5 and 16-13 at the pauses with the offence of Gonzalez and Yadier Sanchez. The lightning spikes of Gonzalez paved the rest of the road for the Cubans with the set finishing with a block by Camejo.

The fourth set was tied 10 times –the last one at 14- before Contreras fired two laser shots for a two-point lead and the Dominicans maintained the gap the rest of the way with Eury Almonte hitting the winning spike.

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