Dominican Republic with strong start at NORCECA Men’s Final Four

PONCE, Puerto Rico, June 14th, 2024.- Dominican Republic is off to a good start in the NORCECA Men’s Final Four after defeating Mexico in straight sets in the opening match at the Salvador Dijols Coliseum in Ponce, Puerto Rico with scores 26-24, 25-18 and 25-13.

A very tight beginning of the match with both teams fighting point by point but Mexico started committing unforced errors and Dominican Republic won the first set in extra points 26-24. The Dominicans started putting pressure with the serve since the beginning of the second set, forcing Mexico to make substitutions in their line up looking for a momentum. The set finished in favor of Dominican Republic 25-18. In the third set Dominican Republic took an early lead by 5 points (6-1) forcing Mexico to take a time out. They had control of the whole set with good serves – block combination to win the set 25-13.

The best scorers for Dominican Republic were outside hitters Wilfredo Hernández with 19 points (16 attacks and 3 aces) and Henry López with 13 points (7 attacks, 2 blocks and 4 aces) and for Mexico outside hitter Mauro Fuentes with 13 points (11 attacks and 2 aces) and outside hitter Jorge Hernández with 9 points (9 attacks).

Wilfrido Hernandez DOM

Dominican Republic led in attacks 37-25, blocks 8-5 and serves while Mexico committed a total of 20 unforced errors against 11 by Dominican Republic.

Coach of the Dominican Republic – José Gutiérrez: I think it was a good and complicated first set. The first match is always difficult for all the teams, and we had a slight lead in the middle of the first set, they tied the set, but we managed to win it and that gave the boys peace of mind and came out with confidence in the next sets. We complicated their reception with our floating and jump serves, that helped us a lot. Today we are going to enjoy this victory a little and then we are going to evaluate and create the tactics that we will use tomorrow against Puerto Rico.

Captain of the Dominican Republic – Henry Tapia: A very good game. We did a good job, and we hope to do better tomorrow. Today was a very important victory for us because it is a Final Four in which we must immediately execute and win. We had consistency in serving, attacking and receiving, which were the elements that led us to victory and tomorrow we will go all out against Puerto Rico.

Dominican Republic

Mexico Coach – Carlos Schwanke: It’s my first match with the Mexican team and we don’t have much to discuss with just a month of work. I must congratulate the Dominican team that played a good game. We must keep working and continue training and acquire aggressiveness. We must attack a little more and to play better. It is our first match, and we must continue playing to be more aggressive and improve in attacks.

Captain of Mexico – Luis Sánchez: I think it was a match where we started slow and that was reflected when closing the sets; we cannot give ourselves the opportunity to start this way because the start of the sets in this match was very important. We struggled a lot in the reception since the Dominican Republic began to press a lot on the service line and it was something that we did not know how to adjust. We must get back to our game and concentrate. Leave what happened today in the past and work on the next game to get into the rhythm and go all out against Puerto Rico.