The Dominican Republic claimed the second Pool B ticket to the top eight of the FIVB Volleyball U20 Women’s World Championship on Sunday, leaving the other contender, Belgium, to battle on for the ninth place in the next stage of the competition. A day earlier, Serbia snatched the top position in the pool, played in Kortrijk.

The Dominican Republic mastered a 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-17) shutout of co-hosts Belgium in a head-to-head collision for the runner-up spot in the pool. Inspired by the home crowd on the stands, the Belgians put on a fight, but failed to win a set. The Dominican offence was way too strong and contributed 40 spiking points, against only 23 from the home team. The other two scoring elements were more balanced between the two sides. The Caribbean squad tallied six kill blocks against Belgium’s five. Each of the two teams produced five serving aces.

Dominican Republic’s outside hitter Romina Cornelio topped the scorers’ chart of the match, contributing 14 points, including the game winner with an on-target spike from the back row.

“We played really well, we kept our foot on the gas and had very high energy throughout the whole game. We reached our objective, the top eight, so the team and I are very proud and happy,” Dominican setter Ariana Rodruigez said after the match. “We need to come out very strong for the next round after the rest day because we will face some really strong opponents.”