Rome, September 28, Italy, 2014 - Dominican Republic won another tiebreak to conclude the first round against hosts Italy with a 25-15, 16-25, 25-21, 16-25, 15-8 victory in front of 8,640 fans in Rome. The victory was Dominican Republic's third five-set win in Pool A and second in two days, the second in two days after yesterday’s one with Croatia.
Despite the loss, Italy ended the pool in first place with 13 points and a 4-1 record. Dominican Republic ended the first round with 12 points and a 5-0 record.
The top scorer of the match was Dominican Republic's Bethania De La Cruz with an high score of 27 points, followed by teammate Prisilla Rivera with 16 points. For Italy Nadia Centoni totaled 15 points and Valentina Diouf at 14 points.Key facts- This is the second World Championship meeting between Italy and Dominican Republic. In 1978 Dominican Republic defeated Italy 3-2- Italy have won seven of their last 10 World Championship matches against NORCECA nations, losing only against Cuba in this span (3 defeats)- Italy had their six-match winning streak at World Championships snapped, their longest run since winning eight in 2006- In each of their last matches against CEV nations (since 1978) Dominican Republic have at least won two sets and so did today
The opening set was very balanced from the beginning, but Dominicans, thanks to Gina Mambru served so difficoult for Italian’s reception. Dominican Republic arrived first to the technical time out at 8-6. Marco Bonitta had to call another time out very soon at 10-6, for Dominicans being very strong even in blocking-defense. Too many mistakes in Italy’s court forced the coach to stop the game again at 13-6 for Dominican with a worrisome 5-0 streak. Mambru continued her never-ending serve sequence until 14-7. The server changed but the result was the same, with Prisilla Rivera’s ace on the new entered Caterina Bosetti for Francesca Piccinini. Italy took a little breath with Bosetti’s block and Valentina Diouf’s spike made the 10th point, but Dominican Republic continued to increase the gap up to 10 points difference at 21-11. Italy recovered some points but the gap was still deep and guests could close the set at 25-15.
Yellow cards showed both to Italy’s coach and to Dominican Republic’s coach for objections opened the second set. It was again Marcos Kwiek’s team that had a good start with Bethania De La Cruz serve. Despite Italy’s attempts to defend better, Dominican Republic led the game at the first technical time out at 8-5. Antonella Del Core’s injury at 9-7 put Valetina Diouf into the match and Italy lost the focus on the set. So Bonitta used a time out with his team four points behind in the score at 11-7. The Italian comeback happened with Cristina Chirichella’s serves and Centoni’s spikes, tying the score at 12-12. The hosts overtook Dominican Republic was at 14-13 with Centoni’s ace, and at the second technical time out the gap increased to two points. A line-up fault by Dominicans set the score at 19-15 and Kwiek called his time out. Centoni found the rights spike’s measures and scored the 21-16 for her team. Diouf closed the set at 25-16 after a good Eleonora Lo Bianco’s serve.
The third set started with substantial equality until Mambru came at the serving line. The break was this time of only two points and the first technical time out came at 8-6 for the guests. The coming in of Diouf for Del Core in the previous set changed the reception’s disposition, with many responsibilities given to the only two receivers left. This decision semeed to be positive for Italy that led the set for 12-10. Two blocks in a row by Estefany Arias tied the score at 12-12. At 17-17 Del Core came in after the injury applauded by the audience. Dominican Republic took a three point lead at 22-19 with De La Cruz’s spikes. Arias claimed the set ball for her team, capitalized by De la Cruz at 25-21.
This time the sprint start was by Italy, flying at 5-1 with Bosetti’s serve turn. The serve’s quality was excellent even with Diouf’s sequence, bringing Italy to the first technical time out at 8-4. Italy set up its blocking section and Dominicans had a hard time to pass with their attacks. Only De La Cruz continued in her performance, but Dominicans lost some counter-attack fluency, often stopped by Italian’s bloc. Italy went up 16-13 and Kwiek called his time out being four points behind in the score at 18-14. Diouf-Arrighetti double score increased the gap to six points. Mambru service error gave the set to the home side at 25-16.
First tie break for Italy in this round, the third for Dominican Republic, the second in a row. The set showed a good start for the guests, with a great performance by De La Cruz. Italy tried with Del Core to stay close in the score, but the switch arrived at 8-5 for the opponents. The usual Mambru ace arrived at 10-6 for Dominicans, and Arias’ block on Chirichella pushed the score at 12-7. De La Cruz claimed the match ball for her team on home side’s attack error made the match end at 15-8.