Second Champions Cup appearance for Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, October 27, 2013 – The Dominican Republic will be making their second appearance at the FIVB Women’s Grand Champions Cup when the competition serves off from November 12-17 in the cities of Nagoya and Japan.
In 2009, the first year under Brazilian coach Marcos Kwiek and as NORCECA Champions, they claimed the bronze medal for the biggest achievement thus far of a senior Dominican Republic’s team in an FIVB competition.
The Dominicans booked their ticket to the quadrennial event as the world best-ranked continental vice champions with the highest ranking at the last Olympic Games among non-qualified teams.
The Dominican Republic team finished second at the NORCECA Continental Championship held in Omaha, United States. They lost to the United States in four sets (25-19, 26-24, 21-25, 25-19) in the title’s contest.
The team consists of outside hitters Bethania De la Cruz, Prisilla Rivera, Brayelin Martinez and Yonkaira Peña, middle blockers Annerys Vargas, Candida Arias and Marianne Fersola and opposites Gina Mambru and Jeoselyna Rodriguez. The setters are Niverka Marte and Karla Echenique, the defensive specialist Ana Binet and liberos Brenda Castillo and Winifer Fernandez.
Kwiek will be assisted by countryman Wagner Pacheco and the Dominican Wilson Sanchez. Christian Cruz is the team manager and Yeivic Jimenez is the statistician. Milciades Albert is the team doctor with Cesar Villalona as therapist.
They will make an early arrival in Japan on November 2 with their roster of 14 players for a training base in Osaka at the facilities of Torray Arrows Club.
Currently world No. 8 in the rankings, the Dominican Republic will play world No. 12 Thailand in the opening match of the tournament on November 12 at 12:00 local time at Nippongaishi Hall in Nagoya. They will face the No. 6 Russia on November 13.
After a travel day, the Dominicans meet Olympic champions and world’s top ranked Brazil on November 15 at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, to conclude the round-robin tournament with matches against hosts Japan (No. 3) and United States (No. 2).
Besides their silver medal at NORCECA Continental Tournament, the Dominican team also finished second to the USA team at the Women’s Pan American Cup held in Peru. They also took the bronze medal at the Montreux Volley Masters and at the Boris Yeltsin Cup.
In this year’s FIVB World Grand Prix, the Dominican Republic concluded with an overall win-loss record of 6-3 good for 10th place among 20 participating teams. They twice defeated Puerto Rico while scoring single victories over Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy and Algeria.
“We have had a very good year in 2013 with the addition of players from the junior ranks who are solidifying the structure of our team,” Kwiek said. “Now we are optimistic about our chances of a top-three position at the Grand Champions Cup which will be a good way to cap the year.”
Japan has hosted every edition of the FIVB Women’s Grand Champions Cup, since its inception in 1993.
Unlike the men’s competition, the FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup has had a different winner for each of its five previous editions. Cuba won the inaugural event in 1993, followed by Russia (1997), China (2001), Brazil (2005) and Italy (2009).
The historical podium positions are as follows:
Year Gold Silver Bronze
1993 CUB CHN RUS
1997 RUS CUB BRA
2001 CHN RUS JPN
2005 BRA USA CHN
2009 ITA BRA DOM