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Dominican Republic Fights off Guatemala


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, September 27, 2017 – Guatemala put up a fight, but Dominican Republic was too strong and won the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship match, 25-16, 25-20, 25-18 on Wednesday.


Guatemala finishes pool play at 0-2. Dominican Republic will play the top-seeded United States on Thursday for the pool victory.


Dominican Republic held the height advantage and led Guatemala in spikes (43-29), blocks (9-2) and aces (5-2). Guatemala scored 21 points on Dominican errors while committing 18.


After Dominican Republic dominated the first set, the second set was tied at 17-17 before Dominican Republic pulled away. Guatemala was within one point at 18-17 in the third set, but the DR pulled away again.


Dominican captain and outside hitter Wilfrido Hernandez led all scorers with 21 points on a match-high 19 spikes, one block and one ace. Jose Caceres had a match-high three blocks.


Andy Leonardo led Guatemala with 15 points on 14 spikes and one ace.


Dominican Republic Captain Wilfrido Hernandez: "We were ready for Guatemala. We were expecting to win today because we are a superior team versus Guatemala. Tomorrow we will try to fight. We know that the USA is a very strong team, but we think that we're one of the top teams in the tournament, we're willing to fight and give it everything tomorrow.


Dominican Republic Head Coach Gladston Samuels: "Guatemala had good fight, good spirit, tried very hard. His play (Wilfrido Hernandez) and the middle blockers. He did a good job spiking. He played very well. He was one of the keys today."


Guatemala Captain Gerado Gonzalez: “We actually played really good. We were expecting to win. But they are taller than us. That’s the first thing that is difficult. Now we are reaching for 5th place. That will help us achieve our second goal, which is advancing to the next qualifier.”


Guatemala Head Coach Julio Dominguez: “The positive from this match I that the team played together. We need to improve our attack.”