PONCE, PUERTO RICO, August 10, 2023.- An ace from Geraldine González ended the battle that the Dominican Republic won against Puerto Rico in five exciting sets to close the group phase of the XX Senior Women’s Volleyball Pan American Cup at the Juan “Pachín” Vicéns Auditorium in Ponce.
Dominican Republic finished as leader in Group A and advances undefeated to the semifinal defeating the Puerto Ricans with partial scores of 25-23, 25-13, 18-25, 23-25, 16-14.
Puerto Rico, being the top-ranked team in NORCECA ranking that hadn’t qualify for the Pan American Games in the quarterfinals of the Cup, secured their ticket to Chile 2023 today.
Puerto Rico lost the first two sets but made a great comeback by dominating the next two to extend the match to a fifth set. The teams battled from the start and tied on every point. The last tie was at 14-14. A block by Gaila González, after a spectacular defensive play from her, gave the Dominican Republic the match point, 15-14; and Geraldine González made an ace to end the game.
Dominican spiker Brayelin Martínez was the best scorer of the match with 28 points (24 kills, 3 blocks, 1 ace); Geraldine González with 14 (10 attacks, 3 blocks and the winning ace); Yonkaira Peña with 10 points (9 attacks, 1 block). For Puerto Rico, Alondra Vázquez with 22 points (16 attacks, 3 blocks, 3 aces); Pilar Victoria with 17 points (15 attacks, 2 blocks); and Dariana Hollingsworth with 11 points (11 kills).
Dominican Republic dominated Puerto Rico in kills, 57-53, and in blocks, 16-15. The Puerto Ricans made 5 aces versus 4 from the Dominicans.
Dominican Republic has a day off as they advance to the semifinal; and Puerto Rico will face Colombia in the quarterfinals on Friday at 8:00 p.m.
Marcos Kwiek, Coach of Dominican Republic: “We knew that we classified to the semifinal by winning just one set. But today, we had the opportunity to put more players on the court. Lisvel (Eve Mejía) was able to play practically three sets, we released our libero, and it was a hard-fought match. Puerto Rico played an excellent game. I think that this match is useful for the rest of the tournament because it gives them more confidence. They played a tremendous game today. We achieved the objective and now to continue working. We will rest after the tournament.”
Geraldine González, Middle Blocker of Dominican Republic: “The coach told us that we had the responsibility to win for the country and thank God we achieved our goal. We had a responsibility to beat Puerto Rico and we did it.”
Fernando Morales, Coach of Puerto Rico: “We did what we had to do. The Dominican Republic is a great team that makes the play. They made great plays at the end and took the game. That’s what good teams do. We battled hard and played the best match of the tournament so far. After seeing how we played today without Brittany (Abercrombie), they believe that we can be on the podium. The goal of the tournament, which was to qualify for the Pan American Games, was achieved. We are very happy, and now we are looking for something else”.