London, Great Britain, July 31, 2012 – Since her early days practicing volleyball, Bethania De La Cruz had recurrent fantasy dreams of competing at the Olympic Games, something the Dominican star is fulfilling in London but hopes to repeat in years to come.
At 25, the long-armed De La Cruz has gained her reputation as one of the most fearsome spikers in women’s volleyball and she already has produced several scoring feats at the international scene.
“I am like an eternal dreamer because it is not only when I am asleep but also when I am awake that I am thinking not about greatness but about being at the right time in the right place,” De La Cruz revealed.
The hard-hitting Dominican happened to be in the right place at Momotaro Arena of Okayama, Japan during last year’s FIVB World Cup when she established the single game point-record for the event by scoring 42 in a five-set victory over Germany.
That special day, she put together all her skills to finish with an all-round performance of 31 spikes, six blocks and five serving aces.
“I really was not aware about the record until somebody informed during the post-game press conference that I had scored that number,” she disclosed. “I am very proud about it, but I also a realistic, down to earth person who realize that somebody will break it sooner or later.”
While helping her Dominican team to a respectable eighth place in the World Cup, De La Cruz took home the awards as best scorer and best server of the quadrennial event, the first qualification stage for the Olympic Games.
Following the World Cup, Bethania was briefly in her native Santo Domingo for a few days with her family before reporting to Denso Airybees Club of the Japan V-League where she kept producing some more amazing scoring feats, including two 50-plus points in a one-week period.
She first amassed 51 points in a victory over JT Marvelous on January 29 and one week later erupted with 54 to carry Denso in a five-set win over Hisamitsu Springs.
When her Japanese season was over, De La Cruz returned home and helped the Dominican team to win the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tijuana, Mexico with a four-set victory over Cuba while receiving the award as Most Valuable Player.
“Bethania is a very dedicated and hard-working athlete,” her Brazilian native coach Marcos Kwiek says. “The most amazing thing about her is that she is only 25 and with a high ceiling, a lot of room to improve, which is somehow scary.”
“After a long season in Japan, with so many swings from the shoulder, we gave her a break to be ready for the tournament in Mexico,” Kwiek said. “Then she only played the first weekend of the Grand Prix in Santo Domingo and was rested again to prepare for the Olympics.”
De La Cruz totaled 40 points in her first two matches in London. She first had a subpar production of 14 in a loss to Italy but came back with 26 two days later against Russia.
“The most important matches are still there for us,” De La Cruz commented after the 3-1 defeat to the hands of Russia. “We have a lot of ambitions as a team, and the people in the Dominican are expecting great things from us.”
“I am constantly trying to improve and be a complete player and not only to be mentioned as a big scorer, so that is also one of my most cherished dreams,” she said.
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