Tokyo, Japan, May 22, 2016 - The Dominican Republic has finished its 2016 Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament with a flurry, posting a second consecutive win by beating Rio-bound Korea 3-0 (25-23, 25-11, 28-26)
19-year-old Brayelin Martinez and Libero Brenda Castillo led the way for the Dominicans, who finished the tournament with two wins, while Korea could afford to smile despite losing matches to Thailand and the Dominican Republic in the last two days of competition.
For both teams, Sunday’s match was very much about the future. For the Dominicans, it was with an eye on Tokyo 2020, while for Korea it was much shorter term – fine tuning tjeir line-up for Rio in August.
The Dominican Republic took to the court at full strength, with Brayelin Martinez, Brenda Castillo and Prisilla Brens all on duty, while Korea left Kim Yeon-Koung and Yang Hyo-Jin, their two highest point scorers, on the bench.
Korea led for most of the set, and at 22-18 should have been able to wrap up the set. But the Dominicans fought back to level at 22-all, before wrapping up the set 25-23.
Martinez led all comers with seven points for the set.
25-11, the scoreline for the second set, said it all. Dominican Republic was out to make an impression and finish on a high, Korea continued to experiment with new combinations.
At 8-6 Korea was close, but the Dominicans strung together the next six points to make it 14-6, and then 21-9 before closing out the set 25-11.
Martinez took her personal points tally to 12, while Yonkaira Isabel was taking advantage of some quality court time with 11 points, while Annerys Valdez had picked up three blocks.
For Korea, Hwang Youn-Joo was leading the charge on nine points.
Korea’s young guns came out spoiling for a fight in the third set, and held two set points at 24-22 before Castillo and Martinez combined to put the Caribbean team back on level pegging at 24-all.
An arm wrestle ensued, with Korea squandering another two set point opportunities, before powerful Martinez spikes finally ended the set 28-26, and a second win for the Dominican Republic 25-23, 25-11, 28-26.