RIMINI, Italy - The 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations
League has allowed players from around the world
to meet their national team counterparts for the
first time in several years. For some of the
players competing in Rimini, Italy, it’s also
one of the last opportunities to do so.
Which is the case for the Dominican Republic’s
captain and outside hitter Prisilla Rivera.
The 36-year-old veteran announced that the 2021
season would be the last of her career and even
if she’s still set to play at the Tokyo Olympics
and the Pan-American Cup, she has already
started her farewell at a tournament she’s
currently playing for a final time.
“I’m enjoying every moment of this VNL,” she
said. “It’s a great experience and I’m taking
every day and every match at a time. The best of
all of it is being able to be with my teammates
again after such a long time. They’re like
family to me and it means a lot to be with them
Rivera, who has been part of the Dominican
national team since 2001 and who appeared at
both the Athens 2004 and the London 2012
Olympics, has been one of the faces of the team
over the last two decades.
She has also been part of the two strongest
generations of players ever developed in the
country and helped ‘Las Reinas del Caribe’ (The
Queens of the Caribbean, in Spanish) achieve
some of their most memorable results, such as
the bronze medal at the 2009 FIVB Volleyball
World Grand Champions Cup and victories at the
2003 and 2019 Pan-American Games and at the 2009
and 2019 NORCECA Championships.
“It all makes me really proud,” she said. “More
than personal accomplishments, these were
accomplishments for my team and my country.
That’s a lot bigger and means the world to me.
To see the effort of several years be reflected
on these results, it’s fantastic.”
Rivera’s departure might be the first of a few
the Dominicans will have to deal with over the
next years. With other important players like
outside hitter Bethania De La Cruz (34), middle
blocker Annerys Vargas (39) and opposite Gina
Mambru (35) all presumably approaching the end
of their careers, the team will look different
in a few years.
“It’s hard to know what will happen in the
future,” Rivera added. “But I believe this team
will keep progressing. New players will come and
the results will hopefully keep coming.”