Bethania leads Dominican women’s team in NORCECA Pool P
La Romana, Dominican Republic, May 13, 2014 – Fresh from a sensational season in the Korean League, Bethania De la Cruz leads hosts Dominican Republic as the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Qualification Tournament NORCECA Group P serves off in La Romana from May 15-18.
The prolific scorer De la Cruz, one of the most popular athletes in the country, is being featured as the main attraction of the four-team competition to take place at Eleoncio Mercedes Coliseum of La Romana in the eastern part of the island.
Teams from Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guadeloupe join the powerhouse Dominican Republic as they quest to be among the 24 teams to compete in the final stage of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship to be held in Italy from September 23 to October 12.
“I am confident we will put a good show of volleyball for our fans and wish good luck to the rest of the teams,” De la Cruz said. “We have a bunch of new girls in our team that will get their share of playing time also.”
“The value of this tournament lies even more in the contribution to expand volleyball in our country,” Bethania added.
The eighth world-ranked Dominican Republic has been on the podium of the annual Pan American Cup in all but one of its 12 editions, including two titles and six silver medals.
The No. 2 NORCECA ranked Dominicans finished second to USA in the last two continental championships (2013 and 2011) held every other year following their only gold medal in 2009. They also have been champions of the last three editions of the quadrennial Central American and Caribbean Games.
De la Cruz will be joined by opposite player Gina Mambru and highly touted libero Brenda Castillo as the core of the home squad considered as the superior team of the field competing in Pool P.
The second place team in Pool P will contest in a final playoff along with the other second placed teams in the four other third-round pools in Trinidad & Tobago (June 2-9) to decide NORCECA’s sixth and final berth at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship Italy 2014.
The Dominican Republic is one of the five seeded NORCECA teams in the final phase of the continental qualification process that began in 2012. The others are the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Canada.
Nicaragua (46th in the world) is ranked 10th in NORCECA, El Salvador (62nd) is 17th at a continental level while the non-world ranked Guadeloupe are 32nd place in the region.
The Nicaraguans won Pool H at home in 2012 with a 3-2 (25-15, 22-25, 25-17, 23-25, 15-11) victory over Guatemala. In 2013 they traveled to Jamaica to defeat the local team 3-2 (21-25, 25-14, 22-25, 23-25, 15-10) to win Pool M.
El Salvador finished second in Pool G in 2012 losing to hosts Guatemala 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-11) but bounced back in 2013 to prevail against US Virgin Islands 3-2 (21-25, 25-21, 17-25, 25-18, 15-9) in a tournament played in St. Croix.
Guadeloupe was second in Pool A subdued by hosts Trinidad and Tobago in 2012 and last year also finished second to Guatemala 3-1 (25-20, 24-26, 25-18, 25-21).
FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Qualification Tournament NORCECA Group P Competition Schedule (all times local):
17:00 El Salvador v Nicaragua
19:00 Dominican Republic v Guadeloupe
17:00 Nicaragua v Guadeloupe
19:00 Dominican Republic v El Salvador
17:00 Guadeloupe v El Salvador
19:00 Dominican Republic v Nicaragua
16:00 Third Place v Fourth Place
18:00 First Place v Second Place