Puerto Ricans celebrate their qualification to the FIVB Men's World Championship following their victory over Dominican Republic on Sunday
Carolina, Puerto Rico, July 20, 2014 – Hosts Puerto Rico beat Dominican Republic in straight sets (25-19, 25-23, 25-17) on Sunday and became the 24th and final team qualified to the FIVB Men’s World Championship in Poland from August 30 to September 21.
The Puerto Ricans, who failed to qualify to the world event at their first chance losing to Mexico last May also as hosts, were a more determined team this time and claimed the gold medal in the four-team competition made of the second placed teams of the NORCECA third round qualification tournaments.
The winners outscored their opponents 8-5 in blocks, 5-1 in aces and 43-32 in attacks. They committed 21 unforced errors to 19 by the losers.
“We achieved our goal and I am really pleased with the result, we are now in the world championship,” an elated David Aleman, coach of Puerto Rico, said. “The team never lost the focus and followed the tactic plan we discussed in the morning meeting. Now we have to start working for the event in Poland.”
The victory earned Puerto Rico their fourth trip to the FIVB Men’s World Championship. They also took part in Mexico (1974), Japan (2006) and Italy (2010).
Puerto Rico finished the event with a 4-0 win-loss record, including a five-set victory over the Dominican Republic on Saturday in the last match of the preliminary phase.
Maurice Torres was the top scorer of Puerto Rico with 18 points, including one block and two aces, followed by Ezequiel Cruz, who finished with two blocks and one ace among his 14 points. Veteran Hector Soto chipped in with 12 points in the victory.
Jose Miguel Caceres was the only Dominican to reach double figures in the scoring charts with 14 points.
Earlier on Sunday, Guatemala defeated Costa Rica 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-22) in the match for third place.
Dominican Republic d Guatemala 3-0 (29-27, 25-13, 25-18)
Puerto Rico d Costa Rica 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-14
Dominican Republic d Costa Rica 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 25-22)
Puerto Rico d Guatemala 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-9)
Costa Rica d Guatemala 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-23)
Puerto Rico d Dominican Republic 3-2 (20-25, 25-14, 21-25, 25-15, 15-13)
Guatemala d Costa Rica 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-22)
Puerto Rico d Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-17)