Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament - News

Dominican Republic (DOM) vs. Netherlands (NED) women - Pool A #7063066

Triumphant Dominicans celebrate as Paris 2024 Olympians

Dominican Republic earned the right to compete at the Olympic Games next year after emerging with a crucial five-set victory over the Netherlands on Sunday to finish the FIVB Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifier in Ningbo on top of the final Pool A standings and join Serbia on the way to Paris 2024.

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It will be the fourth time the Caribbean island nation qualify for the Olympic Games, after participating in Athens 2004, in London 2012, where they reached the quarterfinals, and in Tokyo 2020.

In Sunday’s do-or-die duel, the Dutch managed to come back from a set down twice during the game before the Dominicans could celebrate a 3-2 (25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-12) victory, which propelled them to the top of the table on a 6-1 win-loss record and 17 points. The Dutch could have been among the top two, but had to settle for the fifth place on 4-3 and 13.

Each of the first four sets itself was a small rollercoaster, in which the two teams battled hard, taking turns in the lead, to eventually push the match to a deciding fifth set. In the tie-breaker, Dominican Republic stepped in front with the very first rally and never let go of their lead again until Nika Daalderop’s serving error for the last point of the match.

The Netherlands outplayed the Dominicans in all scoring elements: 65-63 in attack kills, 8-7 in kill blocks and 6-5 in serving aces, but also made 50% more unforced errors than the opponents (33 against 22), which cost them the match. Dominican outside hitter Brayelin Martinez and her Dutch counterpart Nika Daalderop engaged in a scoring race, which ended tied at 23 points each. While all of Martinez’s points came in offence at a 51% success rate, Daalderop registered three kill blocks and two aces towards her tally. Six more players reached the double digits during the game: Yonkaira Pena with 17 points, Gaila Gonzalez with 16, and Jineiry Martinez with 10 on the winners’ side, and Celeste Plak with 18 points, Indy Baijens with 15, and Marrit Jasper with 14 for the European team.

In the last match of the tournament in Ningbo, hosts China managed to finish on a high note, with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-14, 25-22) comeback victory over already qualified Serbia, and took fourth place in the final standings on 4-3 and 14. The reigning world champions, on the other hand, took the runner-up position on 5-2 and 15. Chinese outside Li Yingying produced a match-high 23 points, including four aces and three blocks. Cross-court teammate Wu Mengjie added another 19 points, including three aces and two blocks, while opposite Ana Bjelica led Serbia with 22 points.

Canada finished the pool just below the cut-off line, in third place on 5-2 and 14, after mastering a 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-21) shutout of Czechia in their last match in Ningbo. Opposite Kiera Van Ryk led the way with 17 points, including two blocks and an ace. Her Czech counterpart Gabriela Orvosova finished with 14 points, all in attack. The Czechs finished the tournament in seventh place on 2-5 and 5, just below Ukraine (2-5 and 6), who ended on a high note by claiming their second win of the pool, a 3-1 (25-12, 25-22, 22-25, 25-19) victory over Mexico, leaving the opponents winless and pointless at the bottom of the table. Ukrainian middle blocker and captain Svitlana Dorsman impressed with five kill blocks towards the match high of 25 points, while outside Aime Topete Pardo was Mexico’s best scorer with 18 points.