FORT LAUDERDALE, United States, July 30, 2016. – Dominican Republic reached the NORCECA Women’s U-2 Continental Championship medal title winning their semifinal to Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-19) on Saturday at Nova Southeastern University of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Dominican Republic will play their sixth title match, seeking to earn their second crown against the winner between reigning champion United States and Cuba.
Dominican’s blocking was unbreakable, keeping Puerto Rico’s spikers under control. Puerto Rico put Dominicans in trouble in the second set with effective defense, the score was always close up to the second technical time-out when Dominican Republic reached a comfortable 22-17 lead. With difficult serves, Puerto Rico jumped to a five point lead 14-9 in the third that Dominican Republic recovered with relentless kills.
Dominican Republic dominated the blocking category with huge 11-2 margin and scored on 26 Puerto Rican errors. Puerto Rico held advantage in kills with 38-25 margin and scored on just 12 Dominican errors.
Outside hitter Vielka Peralta led Dominicans spikers with 13 points on 9 kills, 3 blocks and one ace; outside hitter Natalia Martinez chipped in with 12 points on 11 kills and one block, and opposite Massiel Matos contributed with 11 points on 8 kills and 3 blocks. On Puerto Rico’s side, opposite Dariana Hollingsworth scored a match high of 23 points all kills, the only one with double digits for her team.
Brazilian Wagner Pacheco coach of Dominican Republic indicated “just like yesterday against Cuba, we lose control because of our lack of concentration. Once we got back into our tactics, things went smoothly in our favor”.
Dominican Captain Yokaty Perez said “our indiscipline cost us many points and gave them more spaces; we were too anxious to perform well. We recovered with serving. It’s a responsibility to battle for the gold, we’ve practiced hard for it and nothing is impossible”.
“I consider we lacked discipline and concentration; we were desperate in important moments and we weren’t able to reach our goal. We took risks serving, following our coaches’ instructions and that gave us advantage in the third. Dominican’s blocking is one of their strengths” said captain Andrea Fuentes of Puerto Rico.
Juan Cartagena Head Coach of Puerto Rico expressed “it was a difficult match, they are the best in the world in this age-group and their U-18 players played in the past world championship. Our outside hitters performed badly, they didn’t score, that why we lost today”.