Historic Attendance for the Gold Medal Match at the NORCECA Final Six

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 1, 2024.- Dominican Republic triumphed in thrilling Five-Set showdown against the United States at Ricardo Arias Volleyball Pavilion, Olympic Center Juan Pablo Duarte in Santo Domingo, which drew a record-breaking crowd of 7,000 enthusiastic spectators on Sunday night.

In a remarkable display of volleyball prowess and passionate support, the Dominican Republic captured the gold medal in a nail-biting five-set match against the United States during the fourth edition of the NORCECA Women’s Final Six tournament.

This historic encounter, which drew a record-breaking crowd of 7,000 enthusiastic spectators, highlighted the growing popularity of volleyball in the region and set a new standard for the tournament’s atmosphere and excitement.

The gold medal match, played at the iconic Ricardo Arias Volleyball Pavilion, was a roller-coaster of emotions and athletic excellence. The Caribbean Queens, known for their powerful offense and defensive tenacity, faced off against a resilient United States team that had shown exceptional form throughout the tournament.

Dominican Republic beat the United States 3-2 (25-15, 17-25, 23-25, 25-16, 15-11) where the Dominicans came out strong, leveraging their home-court advantage. The crowd’s energy was palpable as every point was fiercely contested.

The United States responded with determination, adjusting their strategy to neutralize the Dominican attack, which set the stage for a fiercely competitive match.

The match not only showcased the high level of competition but also marked a significant milestone for volleyball in the Dominican Republic and the NORCECA Women’s Final Six tournament. The attendance of 7,000 fans set a record, surpassing previous tournaments and demonstrating the sport’s growing appeal in the Caribbean.

Fans filled the Ricardo Arias Volleyball Pavilion, creating an atmosphere that was both electric and supportive. The vibrant energy of the crowd played a crucial role in boosting the home team’s morale and underscored the community’s passion for volleyball.

Brayelin Martínez elected MVP of the NORCECA Final Six

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 30, 2024.- The Dominican Brayelin Martínez won the Most Valuable Player award this Sunday in the fourth edition of the NORCECA Final Six tournament that was played in the “Ricardo Arias” Volleyball Pavilion of the Olympic Center Juan Pablo Duarte.

Martínez concluded the event with 70 points from 58 attacks, 9 blocks and 3 serves, helping the Dominican Republic team win the gold medal.

Individual Awards

Canada’s Abagayle Guezen won the distinction of Best Spiker, while Brayelin Martínez also won the award for Second Best Spiker.

Puerto Rican Neira Ortiz was the Best Blocker, while also from Puerto Rico Sarah Venegas was the Best Libero, Paola Santiago Best Receiver and Grace López Best Scorer.

Dominican Lisvel Eve Mejía was the second Best Blocker and her compatriot Alondra Tapia was the Best Opposite.

The best in the serves department was Canadian Emoni Busch and American Kamerynn Miner finished as Best Setter.

Brayelín Martínez guides Dominican Republic to gold medal at NORCECA Final Six

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 30, 2024.- Led by a great offensive attack by Brayelin Martínez, the Dominican Republic defeated the United States in a close match that extended to a maximum of five sets with a score of 3-2 (25 -15, 17-25, 23-25, 25-16, 15-11) to win the gold medal in the fourth edition of the NORCECA Final Six Women’s Volleyball that took place at the “Ricardo Arias” National Volleyball Pavilion of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center.

The Dominicans were superior in all aspects: in attacks 55-54, in blocks 13-10 and in services 5-2.

USA Silver medal

Martínez led the Queens of the Caribbean with 25 points as the leading scorer of the match, followed by Alondra Tapia with 13, while Bethania De La Cruz and Jineiry Martínez added 11 each. For the United States Merritt Beason had 15 points, followed by Sarah Franklin and Khori Louis who added 11 each.

Brayelin Martinez DOM

Marcos Kwiek, coach of the Dominican Republic: It was a close match, a technically ugly match, we went to the maximum of five sets but at the end the girls did what they had to do, and we won, which is the most important thing, now we have to continue our preparation for the Olympic Games.

Brad Rostratter, coach of the United States: The Dominican Republic has a great team, there is no doubt that they are going with a magnific team for the Paris Olympics, it is a team that works and battles hard. When the United States plays like that with a team of this caliber and in a country like this with this great atmosphere it makes me feel proud.

Mexico takes bronze in the Final Six

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 30, 2024.- In a well disputed match, Mexico defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 (26-24, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21) to win the bronze medal of the NORCECA Final Six Women’s Volleyball tournament 2024.

Mexico dominated in attacks 58-54, in blocks 11-7 and in serves 6-5.

Karina Flores was the best offensive player for the Mexicans with 18 points, while Sofía Maldonado and Uxue Guereca added 16 and 11 respectively. For Puerto Rico, the most outstanding offensively was Grace López with 29 points, followed by Paola Santiago with 10 and Stephanie Rivera with 9.

Uxua Guereca MEX

Nicola Negro, Coach of Mexico: We are very happy because the girls wanted to win that medal and it was an important game since it awarded ranking points and this will allow us to play important competitions next year with strong teams and thus continue our growth.

Juan Carlos Núñez, coach of Puerto Rico: It was a match in which we had our options, we had our opportunities in that first and second set, but we couldn’t close them. Throughout the tournament we had sets with 3 and even 4 points ahead but we didn´t have that person who at given moments could carry the group and we did not close at the end. For example, in today’s match we depended on a single player offensively and the second person who could have done it wasn’t with us in the last two games and that’s what happened.

Canada obtains fifth place in the NORCECA Final Six

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 30, 2024.- Canada defeated Cuba in three sets 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-22) to finish in fifth place in the NORCECA Final Six tournament which was played in the “Ricardo Arias” National Volleyball Pavilion of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center.

Canada outscored Cuba in attacks 40-35 and in blocks 9-4, while in serves Cuba had the advantage 10-8.

Abagayle Guezen CAN

For the Canadians, Abagayle Guezen stood out offensively, who also led all scorers of the match, with 18 points, Emoni Busch added 9, while Raya Surinx and Madison Saris contributed with 8 points each. For Cuba, the most outstanding was Dezirett Madan with 14 points, while Alejandra Gómez and Laura Suarez added 9 each.

Carolyn O’Dwyer, coach of Canada: I think it was good that our team was playing better in each game we played, I think that is positive for such a young group, obviously we wanted to play much better and at least advance to the semifinals, but I am satisfied with the experience obtained.

Leivis García, coach of Cuba: I think it was a very well balanced tournament, the countries participated with good teams, some very different in terms of the game system, but the reality is that the Final Six event has been gaining quality.

Dominican Republic Reaches NORCECA Final Six Final

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 29, 2024. – The Dominican Republic defeated Mexico in the semifinal match 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 25-22) to secure their place in the final of the 2024 NORCECA Final Six, taking place at the National Volleyball Pavilion at the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The top scorer for the Caribbean Queens was Lisvel Eve Mejía with 12 points, followed by Bethania De La Cruz with 10 and rising star Alondra Tapia who added 9 points. For Mexico, Sofía Maldonado contributed 11 points, while Uxue Guereca and Gracie Castro added 9 and 7 points, respectively.

Mexico outperformed the Dominican Republic in attacks with 32-31, while the Dominicans were superior in blocks with 8-7 and in serves with 6-2.

Bethania de la Cruz DOM

Niverka Marte, captain of the Dominican Republic: I am happy because we achieved today’s goal, and I believe the team has been gradually improving, all of this is part of our team cohesion process. The coach is trying to give all the girls a chance to play as much as possible, so I’m happy we achieved this 3-0 victory.

Jocelyn Urías, captain of Mexico: The Dominican team is well-prepared, they have been improving for many years, showing a higher level each time, this is the result of their participation in numerous tournaments, meanwhile, we are a team with many new players and we managed to recover a bit in the last set but couldn’t close it out.

The NORCECA Final Six concludes this Sunday. In the 5th-6th place match, Cuba will face Canada. Puerto Rico and Mexico will compete for the bronze medal, while the Dominican Republic and the United States will battle for the gold.

United States advances to the NORCECA Final Six Final

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 29, 2024.- The United States defeated Puerto Rico in their semifinal match 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-23, 25-16) becoming the first team to advance to the final of the Women’s NORCECA Final Six Volleyball tournament that is being played at the “Ricardo Arias” Pavilion in Santo Domingo.

The Americans were better in attacks 57-53 and in blocks 9-6, while in serves both teams were tied at 6. In terms of errors, the United States committed the most 24-20.

Sarah Franklin led the United States’ offense with 15 points, while Merritt Beason and Sophia Fischer added 14 and 13 respectively. For Puerto Rico Grace López scored 23 points followed by Diana Reyes with 11 and Paola Santiago with 10.

Sarah Franklin USA

Sarah Franklin from the United States: I think the game was fantastic, we had good communication between us although there were ups and downs but that’s what volleyball is all about and if we are consistent in the game and stay together, we can achieve the goal.

Grace López from Puerto Rico: It was not our best match, we could have played better but the United States closed the sets better and achieved the victory, now we have to prepare to see how we do tomorrow.

This Sunday starting at 3:00 pm (local time) the matches for positions 5-6, followed by the bronze medal match and the grand final will be played.

Dominican Republic beats Puerto Rico in electrifying match

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 28, 2024.- In a nail-biting match that went to a maximum of five sets, the Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico 3-2 (25-22, 25-21, 28- 30, 23-25, 16-14) on the third day of the 2024 NORCECA Final Six Women’s Volleyball tournament.

Although the Dominicans committed more errors than Puerto Rico 117-112, they were better in attacks 65-62 and in blocks 16-13, while in serves the Puerto Ricans were much superior 12-4.

Brayelin Martínez led the Queens of the Caribbean with 24 points, while Bethania De La Cruz and Lisvel Eve Mejía added 14 and 12 points respectively. For Puerto Rico Stephanie Rivera and Paola Santiago added 21 points each and Neira Ortiz collected 18.

Brayelin Martinez DOM

With the victory, the Dominicans finished first in group B in the preliminary round and will face Mexico which finished second in group A in Saturday’s semifinals starting at 7:00 pm (local time).

Marcos Kwiek, coach of the Dominican Republic: For the fans it was a good game, a close game but clinically it was a bad game, analyzing the numbers it was an ugly game, I think we relaxed in some important moments we believed we were going to win the time that we wanted but it was not like that, on the other side there are also people who play and who study, who work hard, the good thing was that at the important moment the relevant players came out and were able to achieve victory.

Juan Carlos Nuñez, coach of Puerto Rico: We were able to come from behind being down 2-0, we were able to regroup in the game, we extended the game, it was convenient for us to play, it was convenient for us to pick up the pace in the game, we brought some new players from the reserve who could do their job and well we didn’t achieve victory but we are not out and I appreciate the effort the girls made.

The United States easily dominates Canada

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 28, 2024.- The United States continues on the victorious path and only needed three sets on Friday to easily dominate the Canadian team with a score of 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-13) in the fourth edition of the NORCECA Women’s Volleyball Final Six that is being held at the National Volleyball Pavilion of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center in Santo Domingo.

United States led 35-27 in kills, 5-3 in blocks and 6-1 in aces. Canada committed more errors (29-18).

For the United States, which now has a record of (2-0), Sarah Franklin was the most outstanding offensively with 12 points, while Carter Booth added another 9. For the Canadians (0-2), the best was Abagayle Guezen with 12 points followed by Emonia Busch with 6.

On Saturday the United States will face Puerto Rico in the semifinals at 5:00 pm (local time).

Brad Rostratter, coach of the United States: It was a good match for us since we played well and were more relaxed regarding the issue of pressure, which in this environment is amazing and obviously it was a great match in which we were able to develop the strategies well and achieve good momentum for the semi-finals.

Carolyn O’Dwyer, coach of Canada: I think we had some good moments in the game, it’s just a matter of keeping our spirits high all the time because during the game we went down a little, but we also had positive things, several good starts that are one of the things we should do more often.

Puerto Rico Triumphs Over Cuba in Five Sets

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 27, 2024. – The Puerto Rican team needed the full five sets to defeat Cuba 3-2 (25-18, 25-21, 20-25, 16-25, 15-6) in their debut at the NORCECA Women’s Final Six tournament being held at the “Ricardo Arias” Pavilion.

The Puerto Ricans (1-0) were led offensively by Grace López, who was the top scorer of the match with 23 points, along with Neira Ortiz and Stephanie Rivera, who each added 14 points. For Cuba, which now holds a 0-2 record, the best performers were Jessica Aguilera with 11 points, and both their captain Laura Suarez and Ivy Vila contributing 10 points each.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico outperformed Cuba in attacks (61-54) and in serves (10-1), while Cuba had a slight edge in blocks (9-8).

Shara Venegas, captain of Puerto Rico:  What I can tell you is that we started with a lot of intensity in the first two sets, then Cuba raised their level and won the third and fourth sets because we let our guard down a bit. This happens to the best teams in the world, and we need to go through these things to keep improving as a team.

Laura Suarez, captain of Cuba: I think we started playing too confident, without the fighting spirit. We played better in the third and fourth sets, but the anxiety to win played against us in the fifth set. It didn’t go our way, and Puerto Rico took advantage of that moment.

United States begins with victory in Pan American Cup Final Six

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 26, 2024.- The United States beated the Mexican team 3-0 (33-31, 27-25, 25-15), thus achieving its first victory in this fourth edition of the Pan American Cup Final Six held at the “Ricardo Arias” National Volleyball Pavilion.

The United States attack was led by Jessica Mruzik with 15 points, while Sophia Fischer and Eva Hudson contributed 14 and 11 points respectively. For Mexico, the best were Uxue Guereca with 19 units and Marian Ovalle with 9.

Jessica Mruzik USA

The Americans outnumbered the Mexicans in attacks 47-44 and in blocks 14-5.

Brad Rostratter, coach United States: This was the first international event for this group of girls, unfortunately not all of them were able to play today but those who had the chance did excellent which is wonderful.

Nicola Negro, coach of Mexico: We played the first two sets very well, the serve, block and defense phase, we had a chance to win them since they were well fought but we lacked lucidity in the attacks. In the third set the quality of our serve fell and that allowed the United States to play more calmly since they have an enormous attacking capacity that was very difficult for us to control.

Fourth Edition of the Women’s Final Six Tournament is About to Begin in Santo Domingo

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, June 24, 2024. – The fourth edition of the NORCECA Women’s Final Six Tournament is about to begin at the “Prof. Ricardo Gioriber Arias” Volleyball Palace in the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center, in Santo Domingo, from June 26 to June 30.

The NORCECA Women’s Final Six Tournament is a competition that is part of the qualification process for the 2025 NORCECA Women’s Pan American Cup and the 2025 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship.

Dominican Republic has won the event twice and will aim to recover the title after losing it to the United States in 2023.

The six competing teams are divided into two groups, with the top two from each group advancing to the semifinals scheduled for June 29.

Pool A consists of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Pool B includes Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Pool-play Schedule

June 26

5:00 pm  United States vs Mexico

7:00 pm  Dominican Republic vs Cuba

June 27

5:00 pm  Canada vs Mexico

7:00 pm  Puerto Rico vs Cuba

June 28

5:00 pm  United States vs Canada

7:00 pm  Dominican Republic vs Puerto Rico

Year by Year medalists