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2009 FIVB Women's Grand Champions Cup
Tokyo - Fukuoka, Japan
10 - 15 November 2009

 Press Release
Historic first time for the Dominican Republic

Brazilian Marcos Kwiek will be charge during the Dominican Republic's first appearance at the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup
Tokyo, Japan, November 6, 2009 – Crowned as NORCECA champions for the first time in history, the Dominican Republic women’s national team is now ready for a major challenge at the FIVB 2009 Women's World Grand Champions Cup to be played in Tokyo and Fukuoka through November 10-15.

The squad has been training and playing in Japan one week before the start of the competition with most of the players converging here from their respective foregin leagues in Asia and Europe.

Marcos Kwiek, the Brazilian who has been coaching the Dominican Team for the last two years, sounds very optimistic about his team’s chances especially after a convincing 3-0 victory over Denso Airbees, one of the top teams in the Premier Japanese League, in the last warm-up match.

“We have been working really hard after gathering together all our players,” said Kwiek. “The competition is going to be very demanding but we are ready for it and hope for the best.”

One of the major challenges for Kwiek is to find a replacement to fill the shoes of prolific scorer Bethania de la Cruz, who is taking a sabbatical season due to maternity.

“Obviously the loss of a player of Bethania’s calibre is a big one,” admits Kwiek. “But it is also a great opportunity for some others to jump in and show what they can do at the highest level.”

Jeoselyna Rodriguez, one of the main attackers in the 2007 and 2009 FIVB Youth and Junior World Championships respectively, and Altagracia Mambru are expected to carry most of the offensive load during the absence of De la Cruz.

The first match of the NORCECA representative will be against top favorite Brazil. The teams last met in the Pan American Cup when the Dominicans prevailed in a five-set battle during pool play but the Brazilians came back to score a 3-0 victory in the match for the title.

To reach the FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup, the Dominican Republic survived two straight five-set battles against United States and Puerto Rico in the NORCECA Continental Championship held in Bayamon, Puerto Rico last September.

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