FORT LAUDERDALE, United States, July 28, 2016.- Dominican Republic took on Cuba 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 26-24) to reach the NORCECA Women’s U20 Continental Championship semifinals in Nova Southeastern University of Ft. Lauderdale Florida.
Dominican Republic finished the preliminary round in first place in group A with unbeaten 3-0 record and winning the bye into semis. Cuba fought hard for a comeback jumping into an early four point lead in set three but the Dominicans managed to take control with team effort, especially in defending Cuba’s powerful kills.
Dominicans prevailed controlling the blocking (11-8) and serving (5-0) categories, while Cuba controlled the spiking area (39-37). Dominican Republic benefited from 23 errors by their opponents and committed 16.
Outside hitter Natalia Martinez collected 19 points, opposite Massiel Matos with 13 points and outside hitter Vielka Peralta with 10 points led Dominican Republic offense over the net. Diaris Perez with 15 points was the only Cuban player with double digits.
“It was a sum of different things that helped us recover from Cuba’s advantage in the third set. We coordinated well and took control again” said Brazilian Wagner Pacheco coach of Dominican Republic.
Captain Yokaty Perez of Dominican Republic said “we were too anxious, we really wanted to win and that took the best of us in the final set, we lacked precision, my passing was off and my hitters couldn’t perform well. The most experienced players gave the serenity the team needed to finish on top”.
Assistant coach Wilfredo Robinson of Cuba indicated “it was an intense match that in my opinion was decided by the referees. Four points were out of zone in the first eight points of set one”.