History of Volleyball in the Dominican Republic
Volleyball was introduced for the first time in the Dominican Republic in the year 1916 by the United States Marine Corps and also by religious Missionary in the year 1928 in the city of La Romana, located in the eastern part of the island.
The Dominican Republic participated for the first time in an International event in the year 1934. In this occasion the Caribbean Volleyball Tournament was held in the city of Port of Prince, Haiti. In 1946 our National Teams (Men and Women) participated for the first time in the Centroamerican and Caribbean Sport Games, held in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia. In this occasion the Dominican Republic National Women’s Volleyball Team finished in 1st place, obtaining a Gold Medal for our country. In 1962 our National Teams (Men and Women) once again represented the Dominican Republic in the Centroamerican and Caribbean Sport Games, held in the city of Kingston, Jamaica, ratifying our condition of Regional Champions, after obtaining the Gold Medal in the Women’s Division and the Silver Medal in the Men’s Division. Since 1962, our National Teams have participated in every edition of this important Regional Event.
In 1974, our Women’s National Volleyball Team represented our country for the first time in the World Championship held in Mexico; also our Women’s National Volleyball Team participated in the World Championship of 1978 held in the city of Moscow, Russia.
In 1997, our Women’s National Volleyball Team finished 3rd, Bronze Medal in the Norceca Continental Championship. In 1998, our Women’s National Volleyball Team qualify for the World Championship held in Japan finishing in the Top Ten. At the Centroamerican and Caribbean Sport Games held in the city of Maracaibo, Venezuela, in 1998, the Dominican Republic Women’s National Volleyball Team finished 2nd place (Silver Medal), after disputing the finals against Cuba, World Champion.
In 1999, our Women’s National Volleyball Team finished 4th place at the Pan-American Sport Games held in the city of Winnipeg, Canada. In the editions of the USA Open Volleyball Tournaments (1999-2000-2001) our National Team obtained the Gold Medal. At the Bremen International Volleyball Tournament, held in the city of Bremen, Germany, the Dominican Republic National Volleyball Team finished 2nd place (Silver Medal), after disputing the finals against Russia (Silver Medal at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia and Athens, Greece). At the Keratsini Volleyball Tournament, held in the city of Keratsini, Greece, our Women’s National Team finished 3rd (Bronze Medal). During the Eurovolley Cup 2000, held in the city of Palermo, Italy, our National Team finished 1st, Gold Medal, after defeating several Professional Teams of the Italian Volleyball Super League.
At the 2000 Olympic Qualification Tournament in Lakeland, Florida, our National Team finished 3rd after a strong final (3-2) with USA and Canada. In the Continental Championship held in the city of Santo Domingo, the Dominican National Team finished 2nd, Silver Medal, losing the final match 3-2 from Cuba, World Champion.
At beginning of 2002, our National Team participated at the USPV Tournament, held in the cities of Grand Rapids-Michigan, Rochester-Minnesota, St. Louis- Missouri and Chicago-Illinois, United States, with a brilliant record of 10 wins and 1 lost, out of 11 matches to take first place in this important Intercontinental Event, during this year many of our National Team players took part in the Pro-League of Europe, (Italy and Spain), in June our National Team obtained the 2nd place (Silver Medal) in the I Women’s Pan-American Cup, held in cities of Tijuana and Ensenada, State of Baja California, Mexico, disputing the final match (3-1) against Cuba, after this championship our National Team participated representing the Dominican Republic in the 2002 Women’s World Championship held in Germany. At the XIX Central American and Caribbean Sport Games, held in San Salvador, El Salvador on December 2002, our Women’s National Team took an undefeated first place (Gold Medal) with a 3-0 defeat over Venezuela in the final match, becoming the Dominican Republic the Central American and Caribbean Champion and the Pan-American Vice-Champion.
The 2003 became a fruitful and historical year for the Dominican Republic and our National Team, the Dominican Team participated for the first time in the Montreux Volley Masters Tournament, held in the city of Montreux, Switzerland, with the participation of the best teams from all over the world, afterward, the Dominican National Team participated in the II Women’s Pan-American Cup, held in the city of Saltillo, Mexico, classifying event to the World Grand Prix 2004, the girls from Santo Domingo defeated Cuba in a strong five sets battle coming from behind to pass to the finals against USA, classifying second (Silver Medal) to become the Pan-American Vice-Champion. This was the key for the opening of history for volleyball in the Dominican Republic in preparation for the upcoming XIV Pan-American Sport Games, to be held in August in the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. During this historical event in front of an enthusiast and patriotic crowd the Dominican Girls won, for the first time in history, 1st place (Gold Medal) to become the Pan-American Champions showing an outstanding superiority that concluded with the selection of five Dominican Players in the All Star Team.
After this extraordinary victory in the Pan-American Games, our National Team visited the oriental city of Hong Kong to participate in the International Volleyball Challenge Tournament obtaining in this occasion 2nd place after losing from the hosting Team of China. This was a training tool for our participation in the 2003 NORCECA’s Women’s Continental Championship where our National Team obtained 3rd place (Bronze Medal), granting the opportunity to deserve the wild card for the 2003 World Cup, qualifying event to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, held in different cities of Japan where our National Team finished 10th.
In December 2003 and due to the non-qualification of our National Team throughout the World Cup, the Dominican Girls participated in the NORCECA Women Olympic Qualification Tournament, held in Santo Domingo obtaining 2nd Place after Cuba and the opportunity to participate in the Intercontinental Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament, held in the city of Caracas, Venezuela. In this important and historical event our National Team finished with an undefeated record, winning every match 3-0, defeating the National Teams of Venezuela, Argentina and Peru to qualify for the first time in our Sport History to the 2004 Athens’ Olympics Games.
2005 was a successful year for the Dominican Girls after their participation in the IV Pan-American Volleyball Cup held in the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic were at in front of a 10,000 plus crowd that packed the national volleyball stadium, defeated Brazil 3-2 crossing to the semifinal match against USA with a brilliant and exciting win of 3-1 to finally face Cuba in the finals, finishing 2nd place Silver medal. Participating for the 2nd time in the FIVB World Grand Prix the Girls for Santo Domingo battled strongly against USA and Germany to win the last match in Hong Kong 3-2 finishing in 11th place overall. At NORCECA Continental Championship held in Trinidad & Tobago, once again the Dominican squad was able to set into the podium after a strong win, 3-0 over Puerto Rico to obtain the 3rd place, Bronze medal. Finally the Dominican Republic Women’s National Volleyball Team qualified for the 5th time to the FIVB Women’s World Championship finishing 2nd at the FIVB World Championship Qualification Tournament, NORCECA-E held in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
2006 came to be the most extraordinary year for the Dominican Republic Women National Volleyball Team. At the V Pan American Women’s Volleyball Cup the Dominican Girls finished with a strong 3rd place overcoming the USA National Team for the Bronze Medal with a convincing 3-0 result and qualifying to the 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix. In their 3rd consecutive participation in the FIVB World Grand Prix our national team finished with a strong 8th place after obtaining a 2nd place in the Poland stage finishing ahead of USA and Poland.
Their best performance was reached at the XX Central American and Caribbean Game in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia with an unbeaten record taking home the Gold Medal with an exciting match against Cuba and a 3-0 result (32-30, 25-19, 25-22) ratifying their condition of Central American and Caribbean Champion for the second consecutive time. Also, the Dominican National Team took home the Gold Medal at the I TV Azteca Cup held in Mexico overcoming their rivals from Peru, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, USA and Canada.
2007 has become a challenging year for the Dominican Republic Women’s National Volleyball team. Several injuries affected our top players that were not able to perform in the XV Edition of the Pan American Games Rio 2007 held in Brazil. Nevertheless, our Junior players were able to perform at their best during this important Intercontinental event where the Dominican National team finished 5th. During the FIVB 2007 World Grand Prix our National Team finished 11th place, coming back with our key players at their best to take home the Bronze Medal during the VI Pan American Women’s Volleyball Cup held in Colima, Mexico, after an exciting match in the finals against USA for the Bronze Medal with a victory for the Dominican girls over USA 3-1 (25-19, 26-28, 25-18, 28-26). During the 2007 NORCECA Continental Women’s Volleyball Championship, the Dominican Republic Women’s National Volleyball Team confirmed once again their Continental Ranking with a 3rd Place, Bronze Medal and a victory over Canada 3-2 (25-17, 22-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13).
Miguel Beato Cruz, is entering with an optimistic approach his second full season as head coach of the Dominican Women’s National Team, following a productive 2006 season. After coaching in the men’s ranks for about 25 years in Dominican Republic and Honduras, Cruz took charge of the women’s side in September 2005. Since then, he has led the team to the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Colombia, an 8th Place finished at the 2006 FIVB World Grand Prix, 3rd Place, Bronze Medal at the 2006 and 2007 Pan American Women´s Volleyball cup, as well as the Bronze Medal at NORCECA´s Continental Women´s Championship that qualify the Dominican Team, as the 3rd Place, highest FIVB World Ranking Team, to the 2007 World Cup. Cruz, 58, is a graduated from University of Santo Domingo with a Master Degree in Physical Education. Last year he led the Dominican Team to its best showing in three WGP participations. They got victories against USA and Poland in Bydgoszcz and extended Brazil and Japan to five sets in Macau and Okayama respectively. It has been a very busy year for the squad both in terms of competition and preparation and Cruz looks enthusiastic with the challenge. "Our goal at the 2007 World Cup will be to finish among the top Six teams, says Cruz. "Above all things", we need to accomplish that goal if we are going to advance in our qualification to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China."