Dominican star Prisilla Rivera had a fairytale ending to her career as the veteran led her national team to their fifth title at the Pan-American Cup in her hometown Santo Domingo on Sunday.

A three-time Olympian, the 36-year-old Rivera was awarded as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after she scored 13 points to help the Dominican Republic defeat Mexico 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-14) in the gold medal match.

“I’ve been blessed in such a special way that I couldn’t realize until today,” she posted on her Instagram account. “I didn’t ask for anything I’ve received, but I was gifted with the most valuable things an athlete can have, which are the recognition, the love and the respect of my people.”

Rivera poses with her Dominican teammates at the end of the match (Photo: NORCECA)

Rivera poses with her Dominican teammates at the end of the match (Photo: NORCECA)

The final match of the tournament marked the end of Rivera’s 20-year career with the Dominican national team, most of this time as its captain. She helped ‘Las Reinas del Caribe’ (The Queens of the Caribbean, in Spanish) achieve some of their most memorable results, such as the bronze medal at the 2009 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup and victories at the 2003 and 2019 Pan-American Games and at the 2009, 2019 and 2021 NORCECA Championships. She was also the flag bearer for the Dominican Republic at the Tokyo Olympics.

The outside hitter was subbed off by head coach Marcos Kwiek during the third set at 22-10 to receive a standing ovation from the fans at the stadium. She kissed the court on her way out of the court and thanked the fans, coaching staff and directors for the recognition.

Besides being the tournament’s MVP, Rivera also made it on to the Tournament’s Dream Team alongside teammates Brenda Castillo (libero), Gaila Gonzalez (opposite) and Jineiry Martinez (middle blocker). Americans Veronica Jones-Perry (outside hitter) and Ali Bastianelli (middle blocker), Canadian Brie King (setter) and Mexican Maria Fernanda Rodriguez (opposite) were also part of the team.

The bronze medal of the 2021 Pan-American Cup went to the United States, who downed Canada in straight sets (26-24, 25-17, 25-17).