PINAR DEL RÍO, Cuba, June 5, 2022.- The Dominican Republic was more impetuous and defeated Mexico 3-2 (25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-9) to claim the second place of the Norceca Challenger Final Four, which concludes this Sunday in Sala 19 de Noviembre.
The Dominicans finished with a record of two wins, both extended to five sets, and a setback against the powerful team from Cuba, champion of the tournament. Mexico concluded with a balance of 1-2.
The Dominican team was led by its two figures with the longest time in the sport, Wilfrido Hernández, top scorer with 25, and Henry Omar Tapia, who contributed 20, followed by Henry Antonio López with 18.
For their rivals, the opposite Diego González was the most productive with 24, while Josué Lopez with 14, and Axel Téllez and Mauro Fuentes, with 11 each, were the ones who achieved double figures.
José Alexander Gutiérrez, Venezuelan coach of the Dominican Republic: “We have just tried to mix experience and youth. We won the game, but we have to keep working, gaining experience and keep growing. In this match the fundamental thing was our serve, Mexico has good attackers and when you press them in reception they lose control. In the end we risked and won”
“This result joins the qualification for two junior world championships that the Dominican Republic had not achieved for more than 28 years and the 2023 Pan American Games that have never been done in a qualifying way, but we still have a long way to go.”
Wilfrido Hernández, top scorer of the game: “I think it was a game well played by both teams, Mexico has always been brave, fighting until the end. I think we won because we made fewer mistakes in the last set, we focused on serving strong, having a good complex one ourselves and forcing them to lower the pressure on their serve”.
Jorge Miguel Azair, Coach of Mexico: “We knew that this game was going to be long, we are teams that know each other very well, I think we have the same characteristics, in the end they were much more aggressive than us, in the fifth we gave away balls and took the bombs. They have to learn to improve their tactical work, they have to learn from this and emphasize this. We have to take the good from this tournament and discard the bad.”
Axel Téllez, central player: “Dominicana is not an easy team, every year we are always head to head, but honestly today their players were better in this game. But this does not end here, we have many competitions ahead of us and in the end they all serve us for our participation in the World Championship next August”.