Türkiye Sweats to Overcome Dominican Republic 3-1

HONG KONG, China, June 13, 2024. – Top-ranked Türkiye recovered after losing the first set and had to give their all to defeat the Dominican Republic 3-1 (17-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-18) to continue  week three of the Volleyball Nations League in Hong Kong.

The Dominican Republic, now with a record of 2-7, will face Poland in the early hours of Friday at 4:55 a.m. (Eastern Time).

Türkiye outperformed in attacks (55-38), blocks (11-7), and service points (9-6). The Dominican team committed fewer unforced errors (17-24).

Alondra Tapia had an outstanding match both offensively and defensively, scoring 14 points, followed by Lisvel Eve-Mejía with 10. Madeline Guillén and Yonkaira Peña each scored 8 points.

Türkiye’s offensive attack was led by Hande Baladın and Ebrar Karakurt, each scoring 17 points, while Melissa Vargas contributed 14 points.

In the first set, the Dominican players appeared very relaxed and focused, setting their pace in both offense and defense, with Yonkaira Peña and Alondra Tapia successfully challenging the Turkish defense.

The Dominican defense was crucial in containing their rivals, who hold the top position in the world rankings. Brayelin Martínez came in at times for substitutions, and for the second game in a row, opposite hitter Gaila González did not see action due to an injury.

The Dominican team took advantage of the fact that Türkiye’s main attacker, Melissa Vargas, was significantly underperforming in the offense.

In the second set, Türkiye came back strongly with attackers Karakurt and Vargas, who battered the opposing defense with powerful spikes.

The first few minutes were closely contested; however, Karakurt pushed Türkiye ahead on the scoreboard at 8-6. From there, they solidified their attacks and defense to extend the lead.

Türkiye executed two rallies of 4-0 and another of 3-0, which were lethal for the Dominicans, who couldn’t read  their opponents’ rhythm. Karakurt ended the set with nine points, and Melissa with eight. It was evident that the “Queens of the Caribbean” lost the joyful playstyle from the first set and were consistently on the defensive.

In the third set, Türkiye managed to maintain dominance over their rivals once again, with Karakurt and Melissa leading the winning attack.

After gaining a good advantage 17-13, they never gave up and capitalized on some defensive errors from their opponents. They won 25-17. Melissa Vargas secured several service aces, as did Karakurt.