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Dominican Republic clinch bronze after spectacular comeback

 
Ankara, Turkey, August 19, 2015 – The Dominican Republic finished the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship on a high note. The team of coach Wagner Pacheco came back from behind to overpower Japan 3-2 (21-25, 17-25, 25-21, 25-16, 15-11) on Wednesday afternoon and concluding their 2015 campaign on the third place. It was the second medal for the Caribbean after their second place in 2013.

Isabel Pena finished the bronze medal clash with a match-high of 23 points. Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez added 22 kills for the Dominican Republic. Japan’s top scorer was Yuka Imamura with 17 points. The Dominican Republic had the edge in blocking (17-4) and serving (10-8). 

The Caribbean jumped out for an early 4-0 lead in the opening set. At the first technical timeout, Japan had reduced the deficit to two points and – some rallies later – the Asian side had turned the tables in their favour (11-9). At the second technical break, the Japanese already led by five points. The Dominican Republic fought back to 19-21 but couldn’t prevent their opponents from taking a hard-earned 1-0 (25-21) set lead. 

Japan continued their run in the second set. As in their semifinal clash against Brazil the day before, the Dominicans quickly ran out of power. The Japanese – on the other hand – displayed a multi-variant offense with many quick combinations. The Asian side easily cruised to a seven-point lead at the second technical timeout and never looked back until 25-17. 

The Caribbean recovered in the third set. At the second technical break, the Dominicans led by three points. The two Martinez sisters Jineiry and Brayelin Elizabeth (five points each in the third period) pushed the Dominican side forward to reduce the deficit to only one set after three sets. 

The Dominican Republic kept momentum in the fourth period. Although the Asians did their utmost to bounce back, it were the red-and-blacks who set the pace. Jineiry Martinez ended the fourth set at 25-16 for the Dominicans to move the hard-fought match into the fifth and deciding set. 

The Dominicans quickly led 8-5 at side switch with Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez contributing several powerful winners for the Caribbean. Japan came back to 8-8 but eventually couldn’t stop the Dominican express. Angelica Hinojosa brought up match point at 14-11 and a Japanese spiking error ended the deciding set 15-11 and the epic bronze medal battle 3-2 for the Dominican Republic.

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