The Dominican Republic is back for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League with the goal of playing consistently enough to secure more wins and rise up the standings.
The team finished in 14th place last year, a tough result that put them dangerously close to relegation. But it bounced back strong with a ninth-place standing at the 2018 World Championship.
Can Dominican Republic sustain its improved play?
FIVB VNL 2018 record & stats
Win/loss: 3 / 12
Sets win/loss/ratio: 17 / 37 / 0.459
Points win/loss/ratio: 1072 / 1245 / 0.861
Final position: 14th
What’s new for Dominican Republic in FIVB VNL 2019?
The most significant development for Dominican Republic was its bounce-back performance at last year’s World Championship, so they’re likely to bring back the core of the roster that played in that tournament.
Dominican Republic world ranking: 10 (October 2018)
Dominican Republic FIVB VNL 2019 match schedule
May 21 at 3 PM CT – Dominican Republic v Russia
May 22 at 6 PM CT – Brazil v Dominican Republic
May 23 at 3 PM CT – China v Dominican Republic
May 28 at 1 PM CT – Italy v Dominican Republic
May 29 at 10 AM CT – Serbia v Dominican Republic
May 30 at 10 AM CT – Dominican Republic v USA
June 4 at 3:05 AM CT – Dominican Republic v Turkey
June 5 at 6:05 AM CT – Thailand v Dominican Republic
June 6 at 3:05 AM CT – Bulgaria v Dominican Republic
June 11 at 1:30 PM CT – Germany v Dominican Republic
June 12 at 10:30 AM CT – Dominican Republic v Netherlands
June 13 at 10:30 AM CT – Belgium v Dominican Republic
June 18 at 3 AM CT – Korea v Dominican Republic
June 18 at 11:30 PM CT – Poland v Dominican Republic
June 19 at 11:30 PM CT – Japan v Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic games to watch out for in FIVB VNL 2019
You can only imagine that the Dominican Republic coach, Marcos Kwiek, either burst out in tears or laughter when he saw its draw.
The tournament starts with six unbelievably difficult matches against Russia, Brazil, China, Italy, Serbia and the USA. The island team will either relish facing these giants early on in the tournament, when it has a chance for surprise wins—or, it could be facing a 0-6 record and a squad of demotivated players.
If it can at least partially survive the first six matches, keep an eye on performances in their next contests against Turkey, Thailand, Bulgaria and Germany, when they have every chance of taking four victories.
Dominican Republic provisional roster
Head coach: Marcos Kwiek
Setters: Camil Inmaculada Dominguez Martinez, Niverka Dharlenis Marte Frica, Yokaty Perez Flores, Hennesys Nathaly Lalane Tejeda
Liberos: Yaneirys Rodriguez Duran, Brenda Castillo, Ana Yorkira Binet Stephens, Larysmer Martinez Caro
Middle Blockers: Annerys Victoria Vargas Valdez, Lisvel Elisa Eve Mejia, Candida Estefany Arias Perez, Angelica Maria Hinojosa Diaz, Marifranchi Rodriguez, Jineiry Martinez, Marianne Fersola Norberto
Wing Spikers (Outside & Opposite Hitters): Prisilla Rivera Brens, Vielka Michelle Peralta Luna, Natalia Martinez, Erasma Moreno Martinez, Madeline Jazmin Guillen Paredes, Yonkaira Paola Pena Isabel, Gina Altagracia Mambru Casilla, Bethania De La Cruz De LA Pena, Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez, Gaila Ceneida Gonzalez Lopez
Average age: 25.5 (4th oldest)
Average height: 184.4cm (8th tallest)
Dominican Republic players to watch in FIVB VNL 2019: Bethania de la Cruz, Brayelin Martínez
Opposite spiker Bethania de la Cruz, 31, served as team captain for Dominican Republic during the World Championship. She’s been with this team through many of its ups and downs in international competition and is one of the main point scorers. She won Best Outside Spiker during the 2014 and 2017 Pan-American Cup.
Brayelin Martínez, on the other hand, is a young outside hitter who has been playing for the national team since 2011. She’s 6-foot-7 and only 22 years old but has already had a stellar career so far that includes Best Spiker and Most Valuable Player awards at the 2016 U23 Pan-American Cup.
The bottom line: Watch out for upset-seeking Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic, ranked 10th in the world, is physical enough that it could get an upset against a better squad when the stars align just right. That may not include the top five teams in the world but mid-tier teams should be wary of them.
This team has got the athleticism and size that can cause issues for opponents, but they still need to work on consistency.
The Dominican Republic has shown it is capable of keeping up with really good teams when they came in fifth during the 2012 London Olympics and then in fifth again during the 2014 World Championship. However, it failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics and have gone up and down in its performances in recent years.
The 2019 FIVB VNL is another chance for it to put up a solid performance and show it is capable of sustaining a high level of play.
What is a realistic FIVB VNL projection for the Dominican Republic women’s team?
Dominican Republic looks like it has the chops to stay in this tournament.
Whether or not it can climb up a few notches in the standings from 2018 remains to be seen, but if it plays with more consistency throughout and overcome that incredibly difficult first six games then that shouldn’t be an impossible ask.
How to watch Dominican Republic in FIVB VNL 2019
Watch the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League in its entirety LIVE on FloVolleyball.