Bangkok, Thailand, May 29, 2018 - Niverka Marte put her body on the line in more ways than one as she helped inspire the Dominican Republic to an impressive 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-20) victory against Thailand in the women's FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Tuesday.
The Dominican Republic captain produced another sensational performance in attack and defence, including winning one point off her head, as the Caribbean side won their second match of the tournament.
Brayelin Martinez, Yonkaira Pena and Annerys Vargas also produced brilliant performances to ensure a straight-sets victory for the visitors in front of a strong and enthusiastic crowd at the Indoor Stadium Huamark.
Wing spiker Ajcharaporn Kongyot spearheaded the Thailand attack and was well supported by opposite spiker Pimpichaya Kokram and middle blocker Hattaya Bamrungsuk as the Pool 11 hosts dropped to 2-5 in the competition, the same record as their opponents.
Marte unwittingly pulled off the shot of the match midway through the second set when Kokram hit a thunderbolt of a spike directly at the Dominican Republic setter.
Marte did not have time to react as the ball hit her flush in the face, knocking her to the court, but ricocheted over the net for an incredible winner as her teammates mobbed her.
Pena had been the dominant figure in the opening set, which featured a spectacular 32-second rally, as she produced two kills and a monster block in quick succession to give her team the edge.
Thailand overturned a six-point deficit to take the lead in the second set but ran out of steam at the end as the Dominican Republic's heavy hitters started finding their mark.
Thailand also fought stubbornly in the third set, engineering some breathtaking points, only to succumb to their opponents right at the end as the Dominican Republic wrapped up a highly entertaining match with the winner off a deflected spike.
The Dominican Republic faces the United States, the current VNL leaders, in their next match on Wednesday while the pool hosts Thailand take on Germany.