GB women's volleyball team beaten

03 August 2012 / 19:42

Great Britain's first window of opportunity to qualify for the quarter-finals of the women's volleyball competition was shut by the Dominican Republic as they lost 9-25, 18-25, 19-25 on Friday evening.

Monday's first-ever Games win over Algeria had put Audrey Cooper's unheralded side in such a position where one more success would put them through to the last eight - a result that for them would be the equivalent of a gold medal.

With the well-regarded Japan to play in their last game, this encounter was considered to be Britain's best chance of snaring that precious second win, but the Dominicans proved immovable at the net and were consistently able to put long runs of points together to stifle both the home players and the crowd.

A win over Algeria in their final game will put the victors through, but all is not lost for Britain. Victory against Japan and favourable results elsewhere could do the trick but, by seeing off Algeria, the squad have already achieved their goal.

Owing to the precarious nature of the table, it went without saying that a strong start was needed for a British side, but the Dominicans opened up an early 7-2 lead. When Grace Carter served long it was 8-3 and despite a surge inspired by Savanah Leaf, an impressive run of 12 straight points on Karla Echenique Medina's serve took the set away from Britain.

Lucy Wicks managed to stem the tide with a cute attacking set, but when Jen Taylor dumped a serve into the net it opened up 15 set points at 24-9, with the Dominicans taking the first of them with their 10th successful spike from 13 attempts.

The second set had a more even start with Britain going through to 4-4 but, that rapidly turned into an 8-4 deficit with Janine Sandell netting and Cabral de la Cruz shutting down Lynne Beattie and Carter.

As in the first set, a long run of points on serve followed, with Candida Arias Perez presiding over a run of eight points which contributed to putting her side 16-10 ahead when Cooper called her players off for a chat. The interlude helped as Beattie scored with two spikes, but normal service was resumed as the Dominicans' brute force saw them go out to 25-18.

There were yet more errors at the start of the third set as the Dominican Republic went to 8-2 at the first technical time-out, and the hosts' failure to get up high to generate power at the net was costing them. However, once or Ciara Michel got the ball in hand to serve, a run of five successive points got them level at 10-10.

Yet composure and efficiency would win the day again, with the Dominicans clean in attack, digging, setting and spiking, while Britain often floundered when trying to lay on plays on their way to a 25-19 reverse.