Venezuela defeats Dominican Republic in five thrilling sets

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia, July 29,  2018.- Venezuela defeated Dominican Republic in five thrilling sets 3-2 (18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 24-26, 15-11) in group A of the men’s volleyball tournament of the 2018 Barranquilla XXIII Central American and Caribbean Games at Humberto Perea Coliseum.

This was Venezuela’s first victory, evening their record to 1-1, while defending champion Dominican Republic drops to 0-2 record.

Venezuela pocketed the intense tie-break that Dominicans forced to play after winning a dramatic fourth set.

Venezuela finished with a comfortable 12-9 margin in blocking, stopping Dominican Republic’s 62-60 advantage in attacks, as well as a 7-3 margin in service points. Venezuela committed 24 errors and Dominican Republic 32.

Venezuela balanced their points with middle blocker Edson Valencia scoring 18 points, including 11 kills and 6 blocks (the most so far); middle blocker Jose Verdi contributed with 14, opposite Emerson Rodriguez scored 13 and Jhonlenn Barreto 11 points. From Dominican Republic, wing spiker Elvis Contreras scored a match-high of 23 points, including 20 kills and 2 serves, followed by wing spiker Wilfrido Hernandez and middle blocker Mario Frias  with 14 and 13 points respectively.

Wing spiker Jhonlenn Barreto of Venezuela said to be happy “it is very satisfying, it was a tough game. We improved our attitude comparing to yesterdays against Cuba. Dominican Republic is a powerful team and they were recovering also from losing yesterday, they put a lot of pressure”.

Head coach Ronal Sarti of Venezuela expressed “this tournament is very balanced and we all came well prepared, all the teams have the same goal to win. Our reception had difficulties in the first set, it was complicated stabilize and with Johnlenn Barreto coming off the bench, we were able to control phase one to get into rhythm. I was a very good match but we still have to keep on working to improve our game level” about their next opponent he added “Mexico is experienced, they are a Olympic team and deserve respect, we must perform seriously, think about our performance to qualify into next round”. 

Elvis Contreras, captain of Dominican Republic said “it is hard for any team to lose two consecutive matches. We now have younger players, junior and youth categories, this is a new team and we are adapting. We needed to be more aggressive, we were at times, but we lost it and you shouldn’t allow a team like Venezuela to play at their own rhythm”.