Ningbo, China, August 2, 2009 - Dominican Repubic secured its first victory at the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix after overcoming Korea in five sets on Sunday.
After losing to host China and Russia earlier this week, Dominican Republic won its last match in Pool C, 25-22, 25-12, 18-25, 24-26, 15-10 in 112 minutes.
South Korea's Kim Yeon-Koung scored a game-high 22 points, 21 from spikes, while De La Cruz de Pena Bethania (20 points) led four Dominican players in two-digit figure.
Dominican Republic scored the first point of the match with a powerful spike by Altagracia Mambru, but after two straight blocks the Koreans assured an 8-6 lead at the first TTO. The Dominicans then upped their tempo to snatch the lead (12-11) before going into the second TT0 with a three-point advantage. Coming back to the court, Korea won two points in a row to cut the deficit to one before Dominican Republic pulled away again and secured the set 25-22.
In the second set, two spiking errors from Kim Min-ji along with a De La Cruz smash handed Dominican Republic an early 4-1 lead. But the Koreans reacted soon to level at 5-5 before Dominican Republic regained the lead by the first TTO (8-6). Korea then made a few mistakes in attack as Dominican Republic boosted its advantage to seven points at the second TTO (16-9). Leading 24-12, Dominican Republic won the set on a Dharlenis Marte Frica Niverka serve ace.
Korea opened the third set with a 3-1 lead and enjoyed a one-point difference at the first TTO. Thanks to excellent serves, attacks and blocks, Lee's side stretched their lead all the way to take the set by a seven-point margin.
The fourth set was heatedly contested. Dominican Republic built a 7-4 lead, only for Korea to win three straight points to even the score. Korea was 16-14 ahead at the second TTO. Dominican succeeded in tying the score at 17-17 and little separated the teams for the rest of the set. As the breathtaking play continued, it was Korea who reached the first match point, but did not realize it. The Koreans converted on their second set point when Cabral De La Cruz rose from the left flank to spike off bounds.
Dominican Republic rebounded strongly in the deciding fifth set, surging to an early 6-2 lead and going into the first TTO with a four-point advantage. After the break, South Korea win three straight points to pull within at 8-7 before leveling 10-10. But the Koreans could go further while Dominican Republic scored five points in a row to seal the hard-fought win.