NT_KORvsDOM2

The Dominican Republic women’s national team bounced back from a rough start in the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League to win two of their three matches in the second week of the tournament in Rimini, Italy.

The team were in form over the last few days and the new-look Dominicans were rewarded with victories against Korea (3-0) and Poland (3-1) which helped them move up the standings. Instead of lineup changes and tactical adjustments, the Caribbeans found the solution for their early issues in the tournament by looking at their attitude on the court.

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“We couldn’t find our rhythm in the first week and we were playing with our heads down and way too quiet,” setter Niverka Marte said. “We knew we needed to change our attitude and that’s what we talked about over the last few days. We need to scream, we need to smile because that’s who we are as a team. Our attitude is a key part of our team and we had lost it a bit.”

The Dominicans also benefited from the availability of one of their key players, opposite Brayelin Martinez, who missed the team’s first matches due to a leg injury. The 24-year-old, 2.01m-tall hitter appeared in both matches and produced 37 points for her team.

Brayelin Martinez & Yonkaira Peña

A London 2012 Olympian, the 30-year-old Marte believes the confidence the team displayed in the second week, in which the Dominicans also added points with a five-set defeat to Belgium, will help the team move forward in the tournament.

“We’re finding our path and winning always brings confidence,” Marte added. “This is what we have in our minds now. The second week was better for us, but it’s over. Now we will rest and focus on the next week.”