Dominican Republic Holds Off Gutsy Guatemala

Aug. 16, 2009, 10:33 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

IRVINE, Calif. (Aug. 16, 2009) - The Dominican Republic improved its record to 2-0 at the 2010 World Championships Qualifier for NORCECA Group F by defeating Guatemala 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 27-25) on Sunday at the Bren Center on the campus of UC Irvine.

The Dominican Republic will meet the United States on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the final match of the tournament. Guatemala (0-2) will play Panama. The winner of the tournament advances to the 2010 World Championships in Italy. The second-place team will go to another qualifier in Mexico next week.

The Dominican Republic's Jose Caceres led all scorers with 24 points on 22 kills, one block and one ace. Elvis Contreras added 12 points on 11 kills and one ace. Victor Batista tallied 11 points on nine kills, one block and one ace.

Guatemala was paced by Andy Leonardo with 12 points on 11 kills and one ace. Jeyson Flores added nine points on nine kills.

Both teams had five blocks in the match, but DR had six aces to Guatemala's two. DR completed 48 of its 76 attack attempts with five errors. Guatemala completed 34 of 68 attempts with nine errors.

The Dominican Republic took an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO) of the first set, including a kill and an ace by Batista and a kill from Contreras. Guatemala scored on kills by Garcia and Mendez. DR extended its lead seven at 13-6 and an ace by Caceres gave DR the 16-9 lead at the second TTO. With the Dominican leading 21-15, Sanchez took the serve and DR scored three straight points, including an ace and a kill by Contreras, to reach set point at 24-15. Guatemala scored two more points on a Dominican error and a block by Garcia and Mendez, but DR won the set when Guatemala served in the net. Batista had six points in the set for DR and Mendez had three for Guatemala.

The Dominicans seemed to lose intensity in the second set and Guatemala opened up an 8-6 lead at the first TTO thanks to an ace by Oscar Gonzalez a kill by Flores and several Dominican errors. Guatemala's lead stayed at two until it was 15-13. Two straight Guatemala errors allowed DR to tie the score at 15-15. The two teams battled back and forth until the score was tied at 18-18. Batista got the serve and DR scored twice on a Caceres block and Contreras kill to go up 20-18. Guatemala never caught up. Leading 22-21, the Dominican Republic scored the final three points of the set on a dump by Lopez, kill by Caceres and a triple block.

The Dominican Republic's momentum carried to the third set and it took an 8-5 lead at the first TTO and 16-10 at the second. However Guatemala did not back down and chipped away at the lead. With DR leading 18-13, Oscar Garcia scored on two straight kills. With the Dominican leading 22-18, Guatemala got the serve on Flores' kill, then Flores served for another point on Julio Recinos' kill. The Dominican reached match point at 24-21, but Guatemala scored on Leonardo's kill, and ace from Jose Gonzalez and a block by Garcia and Leonardo to tie the score at 24-24. A Caceres kill stopped the run, but Guatemala tied the score again on Leonardo's kill. DR took a 26-25 lead on another Caceres kill and Guatemala hit the ball out to end the match.