Dominican Republic wins five-set thriller to Guatemala in NORCECA Men’s Final Four.

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 16th, 2024.- Dominican Republic won a five-set thriller 3-2 (25-17, 25-27, 23-25, 25-20, 15-7 in their last match at NORCECA Men’s Final Four in Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Dominican Republic finished the tournament with a record of 2 wins and one loss while Guatemala ended with 0-3.

Dominican Republic

It was an even start of the match for both teams. Dominican Republic started pushing mid first set with their blocks and serves to win 25-17. Guatemala turned up the heat going up 3-0 at the beginning of second set. Dominicans started to push and forcing Guatemala with their serve to take the lead by three points 17-14. Guatemala bounced back and forced extra points to win the set 27-25. Guatemala came inspired in the third set showing a great defense and controlled attacks to win 25-23. Dominican Republic improved in the fourth set with a change in their lineup and forced a tie break. The experience of the Dominican team was shown in the fifth set which they won 15-7.

Dominican Republic led in attacks 66-57, blocks 11-9 and serves 7-3, committing fewer errors than Guatemala 27-29.

Outside hitter Wilfredo Hernández was the top scorer for Dominican Republic with 19 points (16 attacks, 1 block and 2 aces) followed by Adrian Figueroa who came from the bench and scored 17 pts (16 attacks and an ace). For Guatemala the top scorer was José Pérez with 18 points (16 attacks and 2 blocks).

Lopez Santiago GUA

Head coach of Dominican Republic – José Gutiérrez: We showed many ups and downs. I think that having won the first set so comfortably gave us too much confidence and things didn’t start to go as they should. We had to make some changes, give confidence to our young talent which worked for us in the end, giving us the peace of mind we need. Our team has several Under-23 players, and our intention is to continue developing them. Now we will prepare for the Pan American Cup in which we have not had good results but this year we are hosting the event and we want to do the best possible, counting on all our players and strengthening the weaknesses.

Best scorer of the Dominican Republic – Wilfrido Hernández: first I want to congratulate Guatemala, who showed a good game, they surprised us, and I think that our overconfidence was what affected us. Now we have to continue working to improve and learn to never underestimate the rival. Our next commitment is the Pan American Cup in the Dominican Republic, I think that the team is doing well despite everything and with the integration of the player Alexis García, who could not participate in this event, it will strengthen us and help us do a great job.

Coach of Guatemala – Reider L. Mora: This competition has been very useful to us, we have had good preparation, playing from less to more. The first match was more unstable, then against Mexico we were a little better and today we ended up playing five sets with a Dominican team with a lot of experience and level and we are happy that we have been improving over the course of the competition. We have taken great advantage of all the conditions to prepare for our next tournaments.

Best scorer for Guatemala – José Pérez: The truth is that it was a tough game. The Dominican Republic is a very experienced and high-level team. Our team is young, but we gave everything on the court, unfortunately we did not win but we are very happy with the result. Now we will continue preparing to give everything on the court, unite more as a team and continue improving.