Dominican Republic Rallies Versus Puerto Rico

July 03, 2009, 9:14 p.m. (ET)

MIAMI, Fla. (July 3, 2009) – The Dominican Republic made a sensational comeback to beat Puerto Rico in a five-set thriller advancing to the gold medal match of the Eighth Women’s Pan American Cup.

The defending champions recovered from two sets down and a four-point deficit (18-14) in the third frame to secure their fifth appearance in the finals of this qualifier to the FIVB World Grand Prix. The score was 34-36, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21, 15-9.

Bethania de la Cruz and Prisilla Rivera paced the Dominican attack with 25 and 19 points respectively. Lisvel Eve contributed 12, Milagros Cabral added 11 and Annerys Vargas chipped in eight points.

Puerto Rican Aurea Cruz, the leading scorer of the competition, recorded 20 points and Karina Ocasio added 19. Sarai Alvarez and Sheila Ocasio scored 17 and 12 respectively.

The Dominican blocking was superior to that of its opponent (13-7) and Puerto Rico had an advantage in the serves category with 11 aces against 9 by the winners.

“We started playing very well but then our game slowed down with many errors,” said Dominican Republic Marcos Kwiek. “But the most important thing is that we recovered in time to make the come back.”

“We lost a big opportunity to win the match,” said Carlos Cardona, the coach of Puerto Rico. “We knew that in order to win it was necessary to make lesser errors than them and that was not the case at the end of the match.”