Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, September 15, 2003 - The Dominican Republic needed five sets to come from behind and beat a young Canadian team and maintain their unbeaten record in Pool A of the Norceca Women's Continental Championship in the Dominican Republic on Monday.
The Pan American Games' champions won 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 15-8 but had to overcome a 0-1 deficit to take a 2-1 lead only to see the Canadians come back to tie the match on the shoulders of lefty Sarah Pavan's lightning spikes.
Considered one of the strongest teams in the region, the Dominicans used their experience to prevail in the tie-breaker (15-8 ) only after the Canadians had committed some unforced errors.
Milagros Cabral led the Dominican's offense with 18 points and Yudelkis Bautista and Annerys Valdez added 12 points each.
"We have not played at the level we are supposed to," said Jorge Garbey, the Dominican coach. "But I feel confident of getting to the stage which we are aiming for."
"We have to make some adjustments, but getting this victory is a plus and now we have to start from here."
Canada's Pavan was the game's top scorer with 29 points while Amy Tutt had 20 and Barb Bellini 19.
"We committed some unforced errors in key moments and that cost us the result," said Lorne Sawula, the Canadian coach. "The Dominicans are a great team but we are improving with every match."
In an earlier match, USA defeated Costa Rica 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-19) in their first match of the tournament.
Danielle Scott collected 15 points and Heather Bown 13 for the Americans while Verania Willis led Costa Rica's attack with 10.
"It is a fairly sound start for us," said Toshi Yoshida, the American coach. "We did OK considering it was our first match."
In the first match of the day, Puerto Rico defeated Trinidad & Tobago 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-21).
"This is a chance to evaluate the group of players we brought here," said David Aleman, the Puerto Rican coach. "Playing more games means more chances to gain experience for our team."
The two top place getters in this tournament will qualify for the 2003 World Cup in Japan in November.