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Dominican Republic and USA women gain positive starts in Rio 2016 qualifier

Dominican players celebrate following their close victory over Puerto Rico in four sets
Lincoln, Nebraska, January 7, 2016 – USA and Dominican Republic opened with victories at the NORCECA Women's Olympic Qualification Tournament by defeating PuertoRico and Canada, respectively, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Nebraska on Thursday.

The winners of the tournament will earn a direct ticket to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, while second and third placed teams move into the World Olympic Qualification Tournament to be held in May.

Hosts United States defeated its neighbours Canada 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-15) to start strong in front of a heavily partisan crowd.

Nicole Fawcett scored a team match-high 14 points, while Karsta Lowe tallied 10 points as a substitue in all three sets. Jordan Larson and Kelsey Robinson, who both played collegiate volleyball at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, added 10 and nine points respectively. Canada was led by Tabitha Love and Lucille Charuk who chipped in eight points each.

The USA offence overwhelmed Canada with a 57-30 kill advantage. Canada held a 7-3 margin in blocks, while USA had a 2-0 edge in aces.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic rallied past Puerto Rico 3-1 (17-25, 25-13, 25-23, 25-23).

Dominican Republic had a balanced scoring attack with Prisilla Rivera and Brayelin Martinez leading the way with 16 points. Gina Mambru added 15 points, followed by Jineiry Martinez with 11 points coming off the bench. Puerto Rico's Karina Ocasio top scored 19 points, then Stephanie Enright contributed 12 points.

Dominican Republic held a 5-2 margin in aces and a slim 10-9 margin in blocks. Dominican Republic took a 50-49 advantage in kills.


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