FORT LAUDERDALE, United States, July 31, 2016.- Dominican Republic defeated United States 3-1 (25-22, 25-14, 23-25, 25-17) winning the NORCECA Women’s U-20 Continental Championship title and a ticket to the 2017 FIVB age-group World Championship.
Dominicans faced United States with a well-structured game plan. Dominican Republic neutralized Lexi Sun’s attacking and Birone Butler’s blocking, which had been crucial in previous USA matches. Dominicans defense allowed Massiel Matos and Natalia Martinez powerful execution, especially in the second set which they won with comfortable margin. United States took the third set using May Mackenzie and Elizabeth Hall hitting stability; middle blockers Taryn Knuth y Brionne Butlet also contributed in the team’s advantage, scoring more frequently. Massiel Matos’ serves were on fire in set four as well as Natalia Martinez’ attacking, they pushed their team into victory.
The stats were very similar, Dominican Republic led in kills (54-52) and in serves (9-3); both teams scored 5 points on blocking. Dominicans scored on 30 errors from USA, limiting their own to 18.
Outside hitter Natalia Martinez scored 25 points on match-high, including 22 kills and 3 blocks, opposite Massiel Matos scored 20 points on 15 kills and 5 blocks, and outside hitter Vielka Peralta added 15 points. Outside hitter Lexi Sun topped USA with 14 points on 11 kills and one block; middle blockers Brione Butler and Taryn Knuth contributed with 11 and 12 points respectively.
Brazilian Wagner Pacheco coach of Dominican Republic said “we did our homework, that was the key of winning tonight, we studied USA well and we worked hard to win the gold. Puttin aside the tactics and our strategy, the girls played with heart, the fought with impressive defense, the balls weren’t droping. We fought for the world’s ticket”.
Coach Laurie Corbelli of United States indicated “Dominicans defense was amazing, I have never coached a team that has faced a serve as tough, it was unbelievable, they had great defense, a great game plan, they got a great team unit and they know each other well, they played better than we did and they deserved to win. My players don’t know each other well and they are still figuring out whose going to lead; they have accomplished a lot and there’s more opportunities for USA to qualify to the worlds and I have no doubt they will”.