Dominican Republic advances to the semifinals of the U-23 Pan American Cup

The defending champions Dominican Republic defeated Cuba 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-23) to advance to the semifinals of the U-23 Women’s Pan American Cup being played at the Arena Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico.

The Dominican Republic won Group A undefeated 3-0, earning a spot in the semifinals on Saturday. Earlier, Peru defeated Canada, both advancing to the quarterfinals as second and third place respectively. Cuba will play the qualifying matches for positions 5 to 8.

Cuba fought more powerfully in the third set, forcing the Dominicans to drop three set points before the final 25-23 final.

The Dominicans dominated thanks to their 11-3 advantage in blocking. The other elements were balanced, with the Dominican Republic leading the attack 37-35, holding a slim 2-1 advantage in serves and scoring 25 points on unforced errors against Cuba’s 20.

The Dominican offense was spearheaded by center Geraldine González who had 13 points on 8 kills and an impressive 5 blocks. Madeline Guillen contributed 11 points from 7 attacks, two blocks and two aces, while Flormarie Heredia collected 10 attack points.

Center back Lisania Grafort and opposite Claudia Tarin led Cuba with 9 points each. Corner player Thainalien Castillo contributed 7 points.

Ariana Rodríguez, setter of the Dominican Republic: “I am in a new position, it is a great challenge and responsibility; Sometimes things don’t go the way I want and I get frustrated. The team was stable, but it can be improved. With each game I have improved”.

Wagner Pacheco, coach of the Dominican Republic: “Cuba served very well and we made mistakes that we shouldn’t. The players responded. Now we have a day to rest and wait for our opponent in the semifinals”.

Edisleidys Reyes, Cuban center back: “Today we improved in strength and attitude, with more desire to win. The last set was very close, we had more confidence, we could have done it from the beginning.

Wilfredo Robinson, coach of Cuba: “We showed our power and quality of play. I gave everyone a chance because we are here to develop all the players for the world championship.”

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