FIVB VNL 2019 preview – watch out for upset-seeking Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic is back for the FIVB VNL 2019 with the goal of playing consistently enough for them to get some wins and possibly 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
Points: 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 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.

Bethania de la Cruz in action for Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic FIVB VNL 2019 match schedule

All fixtures are listed as GMT.

Week 1

May 21 at  20:00 – Dominican Republic v Russia
May 22 at 23:00 – Brazil v Dominican Republic
May 23 at 20:00 – China v Dominican Republic

Week 2

May 28 at 18:00 – Italy v Dominican Republic
May 29 at 15:00 – Serbia v Dominican Republic
May 30 at 15:00 – Dominican Republic v USA

Week 3

June 4 at 08:05 – Dominican Republic v Turkey
June 5 at 11:05 – Thailand v Dominican Republic
June 6 at 08:05 – Bulgaria v Dominican Republic

Week 4

June 11 at 18:30 – Germany v Dominican Republic
June 12 at 15:30 – Dominican Republic v Netherlands
June 13 at 15:30 – Belgium v Dominican Republic

Week 5

June 18 at 08:00 – Korea v Dominican Republic
June 18 at 04:30 – Poland v Dominican Republic
June 19 at 04:30 – 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 6 unbelievably difficult matches against Russia, Brazil, China, Italy, Serbia & the USA!

The island team will either relish facing these giants early on in the tournament, when it has a chance of surprise wins; or, it could be facing a 0-6 record and a squad of demotivated players.

If it can survive the first 6 games the keep an eye on performances in their next games against Turkey, Thailand, Bulgaria & Germany when they have every chance of taking 4 victories.

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. 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. FIVB VNL 2019 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 6 games then  that shouldn’t be an impossible ask.

How to watch Dominican Republic in FIVB VNL 2019

FIVB haven’t as yet released the broadcast details for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Once it is updated we will update this section.

For now we are able to say that fans in the Dominican Republic were able to watch the 2018 tournament on Sky Mexico.