Dominican Republic Rallies Past Puerto Rico

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Jan. 07, 2016, 7:21 p.m. (ET)

LINCOLN, Neb. (Jan. 7, 2016) – Dominican Republic opened the 2016 Women’s NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament by rallying past Puerto Rico 17-25, 25-13, 25-23, 25-23 on Thursday evening at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

Dominican Republic had a balanced scoring attack with Prisilla Rivera and Brayelin Martinez leading the way with 16 points. Gina Mambru added 15 points, followed by Jineiry Martinez with 11 points.

Puerto Rico was topped by Karina Ocasio’s 19 points. Stephanie Enright tacked on 12 points.

Dominican Republic held a 5-2 margin in aces and a slim 10-9 margin in blocks. Dominican took a 50-49 advantage in kills.

Dominican Republic faces Canada on Friday at 5 p.m. CT, while Puerto Rico challenges host United States at 7 p.m. CT. The winner of the four-team round open tournament qualifies for the 2016 Olympic Games, while the second- and third-place teams in the final standings move into the last chance Olympic Games qualification tournaments in May.

Dominican Republic faces Canada on Friday at 5 p.m. CT, while Puerto Rico challenges host United States at 7 p.m. CT. The winner of the four-team round open tournament qualifies for the 2016 Olympic Games, while the second- and third-place teams in the final standings move into the last chance Olympic Games qualification tournaments in May.

Dominican Republic Head Coach Marcos Kwiek: “It wasn’t so much about corrections, but it was more about getting to the level we can play. We always play together. We just needed to make the adjustment to play to our potential.”

Dominican Republic Captain Prisillla Rivera: “We knew that Puerto Rico would be a tough team, they are always a tough team. But we are a better team. We made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, but we were able to come back and play better. It is the first match. Tomorrow is going to be a different story.”

Puerto Rico Head Coach Juan Carlos Nunez: “In the second set we made too many mistakes. It was very important for us to be consistent and clean up errors in the third and fourth set. Tomorrow will be a different game. Dominican Republic is more higher and easier to block. Tomorrow it’ll be more dangerous for us to serve. The U.S. has a lot of players that will be difficult to block.”

Puerto Rico Captain Yarimar Rosa: “When we play the Dominican Republic, it is always mental for us. The last few years we are always that close and we never close a set. We always lose in five. We started strong but after we started making mistakes our mentality went down. The important thing is that we fought hard. That’s what matters. It’s a short tournament so we had to recover quickly. We ended the game playing hard.”

Regarding playing USA on Friday: “We know the U.S. is an amazing team and they make few mistakes, maybe only three or four-percent. We have to keep our errors down too. That is what we have to do if we want to beat the USA.”