Mexico wins five-set thriller over Dominican Republic

CALI, Colombia, November 27, 2021. - Mexico won a five-set thriller over Dominican Republic 3-2 (25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 18-25, 16-14) to advance into the semifinals of the men’s volleyball tournament at the I Junior Pan American Games Cali-Valle 2021.


Mexico remains undefeated with 2-0 record and will decide first place in pool B against Brazil, while Dominican Republic has two losses (0-2).  


Mexico won the first two sets and then struggled against Dominican’s strong offense forcing a decisive fifth set. Mexico outblocked Dominican Republic by a comfortable 12-7 margin; they also led 61-53 in kills and 7-3 in aces. Dominican Republic committed fewer errors (27-38) than Mexico.


Four players led Mexico’s victory, outside hitter Josué López topped with 17 points including a match-high of 5 aces, opposite hitters Diego González and Luis Hernández contributed with 13 points and 12 points respectively, while middle blocker Victor Parra chipped in with 11 points.


Opposite hitter Rafael Almonte of Dominican Republic scored a tournament-high so far of 29 points, on 26 big kills, 2 blocks and one ace. Also from Dominican Republic, outside hitter Daniel Feliz scored 15 points and outside hitter Bryan Turbides tallied 12 points.


Mexico (2-0) closes the preliminary round against Brazil (2-0) and Dominican Republic (0-2) against Chile (0-2).


Josué López, top scorer of Mexico: “We started really well, focused and united; but we were overconfident and they read our game better. We closed the win after a chat before the fifth and that motivated us”.


Jorge Azair, head coach of Mexico: “Our over-exceed confidence made us anxious, then things weren’t right, we started to commit errors and we think that just by standing things will solve by themselves. Dominican Republic’s floated serves made the boys lose concentration, they aren’t used to them and then we began to worry. Our team effort and our substitutions did pretty well to finish the game. Tomorrow will be a great match against Brazil”.


Rafael Almonte, top scorer of Dominican Republic: “We lacked concentration in the last points; in the end we failed in counter-attack not that Mexico had their merit. We are all young and this is a great experience for our next performance”.


Alexander Gutiérrez, head coach of Dominican Republic: “To play five sets against Mexico who have played together the entire year is really good for our young team; and because they are young their insecurity forces them to commit errors, they have to believe they can do things. I believe we are on the right track and Dominican men’ volleyball is growing”.