Dominicans beat Cuba to face Puerto Rico in NORCECA semifinals


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, October 11, 2019.- Dominican Republic beat Cuba 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-20) to face Puerto Rico in semifinals at the NORCECA Women's Continental Championship in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dominican Republic quarterfinal victory advanced them into a Caribbean Classic against host Puerto Rico in the tournaments semifinals. Both teams are qualified for the NORCECA final four Olympic qualifying tournament to be held next January in Dominican Republic. Cuba will play for placing matches.


Cuba's young players showed great energy trying to contain "The Caribbean Queens" charging force in serves, where Bethania De La Cruz scored a tournament-high of 9 aces in a row of her team's 12 service points.


Dominicans also led with impressive 40-29 advantage in attacks and 8-3 in blocks. Dominican Republic finished with one less point (14-15) of unforced errors.


Bethania De La Cruz topped all scorers with 12 points, Brayelin Martinez followed with 11 points all on kills, while Prisilla Rivera and Lisvel Eve contributed with 8 points apiece. Thalia Moreno led Cuba with 7 points on 5 kills and 2 aces, Melanies Arcia and Jessica Aguilera scored 5 points each.


Prisilla Rivera, captain of Dominican Republic: "Cuba is a very young team, they are bold, they take risks and are agressive, we were concentrated in reaching our goal of advancing to semifinals. Definetly our serves were our best weapon today, Bethania did a great job. Our matches against Puerto Rico are very intense, the last ones have been in five sets and it will be a great spectacle for the fans; despite our rivalry we feel comfortable playing here".


Marcos Kwiek, Head Coach of Dominican Republic: "We had the chance to use all our players, our serves were aggressive; all our opponents have difficulties receiving if we serve well. Our reception was also good and that made our job easier.  Tomorrow it's a classic (Puerto Rico) and we must be focused, it's not tactical nor technical, it's emotional, we know each other well and there is great rivalry. We expect the coliseum at full capacity and give a great show".


Thalia Moreno, captain de Cuba: "It was a tough match; we face on of the best of the competition, experienced and with players much older than us. We've improved form the first match, but we hoped to develop more".