Mexico downs Dominican Republic in first victory

TEPIC, Nayarit, Mexico, July 13, 2022.- Mexico came back to down Dominican Republic 3-1 (21-25, 25-12, 25-23, 25-21) in their first victory at the Men’s NORCECA Final Six Pan American Cup at the Amado Nervo Auditorium of Tepic, Nayarit.

After falling in the first set, Mexico battled tough to even the scores and finish earning their tournament win to improve to a 1-2 record. Dominicans’ strong effort recovering from a four-point deficit (8-12) in the fourth set wasn’t enough and dropped to an 0-3 overall record.

Mexico out blocked Dominican Republic with a 13-7 margin; they also outnumbered with a huge 8-1 advantage in aces and a 51-42 margin in attacks. Mexico had 31 scoring errors while Dominican Republic had 24.

Opposite hitter Diego Gonzalez led Mexico with a match-high of 20 points on 17 kills, 2 blocks and one ace. Two other Mexican players scored double-digits, middle blocker Axel Tellez Rodriguez with 19 points on a match-high of 4 blocks and serves, and middle blocker Jonathan Martinez tallied 11 points.

Dominican outside hitter Wilfrido Hernandez topped with 15 points, opposite hitter Henry Tapia added 12 points and outside hitter Hector Cruz chipped in with 10 points.  

Josue Lopez (MEX) attacks avoiding Henry Tapia (DOM) blocking at Pan American Cup NORCECA Final Six

On Thursday Mexico will play the United States, both have 1-2 record, while Dominican Republic (0-3) meets Canada (2-1).

Christian Aranda, Setter of Mexico: “The team needed this win, we have been working well, in the past matches we came off short in decisive points and we couldn’t close. Dominican Republic has been working well for some years now and facing them is always challenging, so we can’t keep our heads down. Concentration was the key, and we enjoyed the game more. Tomorrow the United States is a stronger team than Dominican Republic and we are aiming for the qualification to defend our title”.

Bryan Turbides Pepen, Libero of Dominican Republic: “We started off well, but Mexico shorten the distance and we weren’t compenetrating, we weren’t understanding ourselves. We tried to do it better, but it wasn’t possible. We have three losses, but we will keep on fighting to give our best. We will keep working for future wins”.

Jorge Azair, Head Coach of Mexico: “With Dominican Republic we know each other well and they always make our game difficult, but today we were able to win. The guys knew how to come out of difficulties, our substitutions did their job changing the rhythm and keeping things calm, that was the key in our victory. We performed under pressure, it’s a responsibility playing at home and the guys must learn to manage it better, being committed to represent their country. Tomorrow is a hard duel against the United States, they are a well-structured team and we are going after the qualification, my team is capable of winning”.