FIVB - Women's Volleyball World Cup 2011


Dominican Republic stun Germany in five sets

Bethania de la Cruz (18) recorded 42 points to lead the triumph of Dominican Republic over Germany in five sets at Momotaro Arena in Okayama

Okayama, Japan, November 12, 2011 – A few days ago, Germany stunned the United States. On Saturday, the Dominican Republic stunned  Germany with a thrilling five-set (30-28, 22-25, 25-14, 18-25, 15-12) win in the FIVB World Cup at Momotaro Arena in Okayama.

The victory improved Dominican Republic's record to 3-4 with 8 points while Germany picked up one point from the 3-2 loss and now have a 5-2 win-loss mark and 15 points.

World Cup leading scorer Bethania de la Cruz registered a sensational tournament-high 42 points, including six blocks and five service aces, to contribute heavily to the Dominican victory.  Prisilla Rivera and Milagros Cabral added 15 and 11 points respectively. Margareta Kozuch topped Germany with 20 points while Angelina Grun and Maren Brinker finished with 14 apiece.

The winners held a 15-9 advantage in the blocking category and also were better from the service line 8-4.

The game started with an extended rally that warned of the long match ahead, but Angelina Grun and Margareta Kozuch thunderbolts suggested the Germans wanted to go home early. Both sides showed glimpses of their form in the first phase, but both also committed sloppy errors as well. Brenda Castillo was robbed of an assist after two brilliant digs when a setting error gifted a point to Germany. And Germany robbed themselves of a point with a net error – strongly disputed – after Prisilla Rivera failed to get the ball back. Kathleen Weiss responded brilliantly when the 171-cm setter made a great block on the Dominicans’ big gun – Bethania De La Cruz – to put the Germans 8-6 up at the first technical timeout. De La Cruz got some revenge with a strong spell of serving that helped put her team in front at 11-10 before a couple of errors put Germany back in the driving seat. But a spell of sloppy play by the Germans brought the teams level at 18 and then it was a see-saw battle to the end. A couple of errors by Castillo, who was having a great game, handed setpoint to Germany at 24-23, but a rare netted serve by Weiss leveled the scores again. Germany then had to save four setpoints before a block by Karla Echenique on Corina Ssuschke-Voigt earned one more for the Dominican Republic. De La Cruz feinted to send down another rocket but pulled back and the Germans were taken by surprise as the ball dropped short, putting the underdogs 1-0 up. 

The Dominicans came out all fired up for the second set and after a great block by Candida Arias on Kozuch and a wayward shot by Grun put his team 1-5 down, Germany coach Giovanni Guidetti called a timeout. Another bullet serve by De La Cruz set up a push shot by Arias that saw the Dominicans lead 8-3 at the first TTO. A pair of crunching hits from Ssuschke-Voigt and Maren Brinker, and a Dominican error helped bring Germany level at 9-9 and it was close through to 13-13 when a good block by Christiane Furst on Milagros Cabral and a thumping serve by Grun put Germany ahead again. They stretched their lead to 20-15 after two Dominican errors and this time there was no comeback for the Dominicans. Furst earned setpoint with a classy crosscourt spike and, after a three-point delay, a block on De La Cruz levelled the match. 

After a wide spike by De La Cruz put Germany 5-3 up in the third set, the Dominican ace compensated with a blistering drive on the next point. She then took the serve and came up with three missiles that the Germans couldn’t handle. When a spike by Brinker ended her service run, the Dominican Republic had moved from 5-5 to 10-6. A couple of errors didn’t help Germany’s cause as the Dominicans had their tails up and were eight points ahead at the second TTO. After two hits by De La Cruz made the score 20-10, Guidetti called a timeout, but he was only delaying the inevitable. Setpoint came when Brinker plonked a serve into the net and a spike by Jeoselyna Rodriguez put the Dominican Republic 2-1 up. 

The Germans rediscovered their form at the start of the fourth set, while the Dominicans went off the boil. Good attacking by Kozuch and Brinker kept the Germans in control. Blocks by Brinker and Kozuch and an unreturnable serve by Grun saw the Germans 16-10 ahead at the second TTO. Good work by De La Cruz and Arias closed the gap and when a German miss made the score 18-15, Guidetti was concerned enough to call a timeout. When they closed to within two points at 19-17, he took off Weiss and Kozuch and brought in Regina Burchardt and Mareen Apitz, and they steadied the German ship. The Germans clinched the set on three Dominican errors. When De La Cruz sent a shot long, the match headed for a tiebreaker.

The Germans were playing catch-up in the early part of the fifth set and two shots by Cabral gave the Dominican Republic a 6-4 lead. Germany quickly leveled before a spike by Rivera and a shot by Cabral after a German reception error opened up a two-point gap again. A long hit by Grun widened the gap to three points at 10-7. Germany closed to 12-11 after a missed set by Niverka Marte, but a cracking shot by De La Cruz made the score 13-11. A stupendous dig by Castillo set up a soft winner for De La Cruz that brought matchpoint. Kozuch saved the first one before De La Cruz scored her 42nd point of the match, a spike that was blocked out and which sent the Dominican players into a frenzy. 

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