Volleyball was first introduced in the Dominican Republic in 1916 by the United States Marine Corps and also by religious missionaries in the year 1928 in the city of La Romana, located in the eastern part of the island.
The first time the Dominican Republic took part in an international event was 1934 on at the Caribbean Volleyball Tournament held in the city of Port of Prince, Haiti.
In 1946 the team entered the Central American and Caribbean Sport Games, held in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia and the women’s side took home the gold medal.
Sixteen years later, in 1962, the Dominican Republic competed in the ninth edition of the Central American and Caribbean Games held in Kingston, Jamaica ratifying its status as a powerhouse in the region. The women claimed the gold medal and the men earned silver. Since then, they have participated in all editions of this regional event.
In 1974, our Women’s National Volleyball Team represented the country for the first time at the FIVB World Championship held in Mexico and returned to this FIVB major competition in 1978 when the event was held in Moscow, Russia.
The Dominican women’s team finished third and with a bronze medal in the NORCECA Championship in 1997 and the following year they qualified to the FIVB World Championship held in Japan where they finished in the top ten.
In 1998, participating in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Maracaibo, Venezuela they finished with the silver medal after losing to Cuba, the reigning world champions, in the final. In the three editions of the USA Open Volleyball Tournaments in 1999-2001, the National Women’s Team obtained the gold medal. At the Bremen International Volleyball Tournament, held in the city of Bremen, Germany, the Dominican Republic finished in second place after the final against Russia, silver medalists at the Olympics in Sydney and Athens. The Dominican girls came home with a bronze medal in the Keratsini Volleyball Tournament held in that Greek city and then climbed to a gold medal in the Eurovolley Cup 2000 when they defeated several professional teams from the Italian Volleyball Super League. The same year the Dominican Republic finished in third place in the Olympic Qualification Tournament after a strong finish against the USA and Canada. Later in 2000, they claimed a silver medal as runner-ups in the NORCECA Continental Championship held at home in Santo Domingo losing to world champions Cuba in the final match.
Early in 2002, they took part in the USPV Tournament held in the cities of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rochester, Minnesota, St. Louis, Missouri and Chicago, Illinois in the United States. The team played brilliant Volleyball winning 10 of 11 matches and taking first place. The same year many of the Dominican players competed in the Pro-Leagues of Italy and Spain and the squad placed second at the first Pan American Cup held in the cities of Tijuana and Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico where they lost to Cuba. In 2002, the Dominican Republic played in the FIVB World Championship in Germany. In December 2002, at the XIX Central American and Caribbean Games, held in San Salvador, El Salvador, the team went undefeated to win the gold medal with a 3-0 victory over Venezuela in the decisive contest becoming the Central American and Caribbean champions and vice champions of the Pan American Cup.
The 2003 was a very fruitful and historic year for the Dominican Republic women’s team. They participated for the first time in the Montreux Volley Masters in Switzerland, competing against the best teams in the world. Later they won a silver medal in the II Pan American Cup held in Saltillo, Mexico, a qualifying event to the 2004 FIVB World Grand Prix, where they defeated Cuba with a come from behind victory advancing to the finals against the USA. This was a very encouraging tournament for the upcoming Pan American Games held in August in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In that edition and in front of an enthusiastic and patriotic crowd, the Dominican girls won the gold medal for the first time defeating Cuba in five sets, showing an outstanding caliber and sending five players to the All-Star Team.
Following the terrific victory in the Pan American Games, our National Team traveled to Hong Kong to participate in the International Volleyball Challenge Tournament where they ended with a silver medal after losing to hosts China in the finals. The competition proved to be a training tool for our participation in the 2003 NORCECA Continental Championship where they claimed the bronze medal and qualified as a wild card team for the 2003 FIVB World Cup, a qualifying event to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, held in several cities of Japan where they finished in tenth place.
In December 2003, after failing to qualify to the Olympics through the World Cup, the Dominicans participated in the NORCECA Qualification Tournament in Santo Domingo where they finished second and got the ticket to take part in an Intercontinental Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Caracas, Venezuela. In the Venezuelan capital they won their three matches without losing a set against the sides of Venezuela, Argentina and Peru and for the first time obtained a berth to the Olympic Games in Athens. 2005 was a successful year for the Dominicans as they finished second in the Pan American Cup held in Santo Domingo. Before a crowd of more than 10,000 they beat Brazil advancing to a semi final clash against the USA where they prevailed in four sets before losing to Cuba in the final. They went on to participate for the second time in the FIVB World Grand Prix battling hard before losing to USA and winning their last match against Germany in Hong Kong to finish in eleventh position. Later that year, the Dominicans played in the NORCECA Continental Championship held in Trinidad & Tobago and once again they made the podium with a strong 3-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Finally the Dominican Republic Women’s National Volleyball Team qualified to the FIVB Women’s World Championship by finishing second at the FIVB World Championship Qualification Tournament, NORCECA held in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
2006 was an impressive year for the Dominican women as they finished in third place in the Pan American Cup held in San Juan, Puerto Rico with a convincing 3-0 win against USA to qualify for the 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix for third time where they finished in a strong eighth place and obtained second place in the Poland stage ahead of the USA and the home team. They reached their peak during the XX Central American and Caribbean Games held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia where they breezed past the opposition with an unbeaten record for the gold to validate their condition as Central American monarchs with a 3-0 victory over Cuba.
They also took home the gold medal at the first TV Azteca Cup in Mexico overcoming the sides of Peru, Puerto Rico, Cuba, USA, Canada and Mexico. 2007 was a challenging year for the Dominican girls as some of the big cannons battled with different types of injuries and they were not able to display their best ability in the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro where they finished in fifth place with several junior players in the squad. The Dominicans took part again in the FIVB World Grand Prix finishing in eleventh place but came back to win a bronze medal in the VI Pan American Cup in Colima, Mexico with an exciting 3-1 victory over USA. Then, during the NORCECA Continental Championship played in Winnipeg, Canada, the team ranked third with a 3-2 victory over Canada. The expected qualification to the Beijing Olympics was not possible as they lost to Canada 3-0 in the semi finals and then lost 3-2 to Puerto Rico in the bronze medal match. In 2008, the Dominican Republic won a sensational five-setter over Brazil to be crowned gold medalists of the Pan American Cup and thus qualifying to the 2009 World Grand Prix where they ended in the ninth spot.
2009 was another challenging and extraordinary year with several of the regular players out because of injuries and many junior players performing at their best. During the NORCECA Continental Championship they made a sensational comeback to beat Puerto Rico in a five-set thriller for the gold medal match. The champions recovered from two sets down to win the gold medal and the girls were named as “Queens of Volleyball” by the local media at their return to Santo Domingo. This has been the completion of the Gold Regional Cycle as they have won titles at the Central American and Caribbean Games, the Pan American Games, the Pan American Cup and the NORCECA Continental.
The triumph enabled the Dominican Republic the chance to represent NORCECA in the 2009 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup in Tokyo and Fukuoka, Japan where they finished in third place with victories over Thailand, Korea and hosts Japan. Now the team is prepared for a busy 2010 season with several tournaments in schedule including the Pan American Cup, the Central American and Caribbean Games, the FIVB World Grand Prix and the FIVB World Championship in Japan.