Boryeong, Korea, June 20, 2019 - The Dominican Republic defeated Japan in the first match in Boryeong on Thursday.
Japan - Dominican Republic (June 20, 2019)
· Japan have won 17 of their 20 major world level matches against Dominican Republic.
· Dominican Republic's world level victories over Japan came at the 2017 World Grand Prix (3-1), the 2009 Grand Champions Cup (3-1) and the 2008 World Grand Prix (3-0).
· Japan defeated Dominican Republic in five sets at both the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League (preliminary) and 2018 World Championship (2nd round).
· Dominican Republic (105) scored more points than Japan (104) in the 3-2 defeat in last year's VNL. Yonkaira Paola Peña Isabel (28), Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez (25), Sarina Koga (25) and Gaila Ceneida Gonzalez Lopez (21) all reached 20 points in that match.
· Sarina Koga (23) also scored the most points for Japan in their 2018 World Championship meeting with Dominican Republic.
· Japan started week 5 of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League with defeats against Poland (3-1) and Republic of Korea (3-0). They can suffer three defeats in a row for the first time in the competition.
· Japan's record in the 2019 VNL now is W7-L7. They need to beat Dominican Republic in their final preliminary round fixture to better their number of wins from 2018 (W7-L8).
· Japan last won at least eight matches in a specific major world tournament in the 2014 World Grand Prix (8 wins).
· Yuki Ishii scored 17 points in Japan's 3-0 defeat against Republic of Korea on Wednesday, at least nine points more than any of her teammates.
· Ishii is Japan's leading scorer in the 2019 VNL on 190 points. Her current tally is already more than Japan's top scorer had in the 2018 VNL - Ai Kurogo (158 points).
· Miya Sato is among the best setters in this year's VNL, averaging 5.35 per set.
· Dominican Republic lost 3-2 against Poland on Wednesday, their first five-sets defeat in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
· Dominican Republic have won seven matches in this year's VNL (W7-L7). They could win eight matches in a single world level major tournament for the first time. They also won seven in the 2014 World Championship and the 2016 World Grand Prix.
· Bethania De La Cruz De Peña scored 19 points against Poland, at least five more than any other teammate.
· Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez has scored a team-high 249 points in the 2019 VNL and needs one more point to match her total tally in last year's preliminary round (250).
· Only Poland's Malwina Smarzek (323) scored more points from spikes in the 2019 VNL than Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez (228).
Republic of Korea - Poland (June 20, 2019)
· Poland have a W11-L6 record against Republic of Korea in major world level meetings.
· Poland have won their last two world level matches against Republic of Korea, 3-0 wins at the 2017 World Grand Prix (30 July) and 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
· Republic of Korea's last world level victory against Poland was a 3-0 at the 2017 World Grand Prix (23 July).
· Malwina Smarzek scored a match-high 21 points in their previous VNL encounter.
Republic of Korea
· Republic of Korea beat Japan in straight-sets in Boryeong on Wednesday, ending a nine-match losing streak in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
· It was only Korea's second victory in the 2019 VNL (W2-L12), after a 3-0 victory over Belgium in week 2.
· Three of Korea's seven wins in the VNL came on home soil (43%).
· Republic of Korea have lost 14 VNL matches in straight-sets, more than any other team.
· Kim Yeon Koung (23) and Kim Heejin (21) both reached the 20-point mark for Korea in their 3-0 win over Japan on Wednesday.
· Kim Heejin has scored a team-high 170 points in this year's VNL and needs five more points to equal Kim Yeon Koung's 175 as the team's top scorer in the 2018 VNL.
· Poland are on nine wins in the 2019 VNL (W9-L5), already one more than their total number of victories last year (W8-L7).
· Poland have won six five-setters in the VNL, more than any other team.
· Malwina Smarzek scored a match-high 34 points in Poland's 3-2 win over Dominican Republic on Wednesday to bring her total tally in this year's VNL preliminary round to 364.
· Smarzek's 364 points in the 2019 VNL are more than any other player managed to score in this year's competition and already three more than her total number of points in the 2018 VNL preliminary round, when she finished as overall top scorer on 361 points.
· Smarzek reached the 34-points mark in a single VNL match for the second time this season, after she bagged an all-time VNL high 41 points in Poland's 3-1 win over Bulgaria in Apeldoorn on 28 May.
· It was the ninth time that Smarzek scored at least 30 points in a single VNL match and the sixth time this season. No other player reached the 30-goal mark on more than three occasions.
· Smarzek scored the most points for Poland in 12 of their 14 matches in this year's VNL. Magdalena Stysiak was the team's leading scorer in the other two games, against Belgium (3-1 win on 5 June) and Turkey (3-2 loss on 13 June).