Ankara, Turkey, August 18, 2015 – Brazil overcame the Dominican Republic in a thrilling roller-coaster match 3-2 (19-25, 25-21, 15-25, 25-22, 15-9) in Tuesday’s first semifinal clash of the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship in Ankara, Turkey. 9 to 16 errors in the last two sets were one of the reasons why Brazil eventually prevailed.
Captain Rosamaria led the Brazilians with a tournament-high of 27 points, including eight block winners. Isabel Pena was the most scorer for the Dominican Republic with 22 kills.
The Dominican Republic quickly gained momentum in the early stages of the much-awaited semifinal clash. Led by their powerful spikers Pena and captain Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez, the Caribbean were up 8-4 at the first technical timeout. Brazil started their engines in the middle of the first set, coming back from behind to equalize at 14-14. Still, it was not good enough. The Dominicans retook control of the set and never looked back until 25-19. Pena hammered the Mikasa down to offer the Dominican Republic a well-deserved 1-0 set lead.
Brazil found their rhythm in the beginning of the second set. Coach Wagner Coppini sent in second setter Naiane for Silva Juma to reinforce the Brazilian offense. It apparently helped as the South Americans cruised to a 16-13 lead at the second technical timeout. The Dominicans fought back to level the set at 21-21 but eventually couldn’t stop the Brazilian run. Captain Rosamaria finished the second set 25-21 in Brazil’s favour.
The Caribbean regained control of the match in the middle of the third set. With Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez serving five times in a row, the Dominicans stretched their lead to six points at 18-12. Pena added a winner to make it 22-14 before captain Martinez ended it for the Caribbean at 25-15.
In the fourth set it was again Brazil’s turn to take command. The South Americans led 8-6 and 17-13 before the Dominicans reduced the deficite to one point at 16-17. Brazil – however – kept calm to move the match into the fifth and deciding set.
Brazil experienced the better start into the tie-break with Gabi leading her team to an early 5-2 advantage. The Dominicans – on the other hand – ran slowly but steadily out of steam. At side switch, the South Americans already led 8-3. Rosamaria brought up match point at 14-7 with a spectacular block winner before Pena sending the Mikasa long to offer Brazil a hard-earned 3-2 win.