Jamaica men lose to Curacao in regional volleyball tourney
...T&T, Barbados women hit winning note
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Holders Trinidad & Tobago and long-standing rivals Barbados remained on a collision course following contrasting victories in the women's competition of the Caribbean Volleyball Championships on Thursday.
Sinead Jack helped the four-time defending champions T&T Women overcome a stiff challenge from Jamaica to win 25-12, 25-21, 32-34, 25-23 at the Jean Pierre Complex, after Shari Matthews led six-time champions Barbados to a 25-21, 25-11, 25-19 victory over the Bahamas.
On the men's side, Derick Colina led four players in double-figures, as Curacao edged Jamaica 23-25, 25-18, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12 in Pool A of the men's competition.
The Russia-based Jack led the T&T attack with 19 points in a match that lasted two hours, 10 minutes to secure a place in the Final on Sunday at the same venue.
T&T are still unbeaten in preliminary competition play with one match remaining in the round-robin phase against the Bahamas on Friday.
"As the defending champions we know all the teams will be coming at us, and we have to be prepared and bring our top game all the time," said T&T captain Kelly-Ann Billingy.
Jamaica looked dead and buried after going down in the first two sets, but they fought hard to extend the home team in a third set that lasted more than an hour and forced a fourth set.
The Jamaican threat receded however, although their Chicago-born captain Simone Asque landed 10 spikes and one ace to lead their attack and they surprisingly had the better showing in blocks against the taller T&T women, 13-10, while committing only 35 errors to 41 from the hosts.
"I thought we battled them equally in most parts of the match," said Asque. "We are both strong in different ways, but going forward we have to focus on our game and continue to play as a team."
Matthews hammered 19 kills and two aces in her 21 points as she fired Barbados past Bahamas, improving their record to 1-1.
The Barbadians were the better of the two teams in all aspects of the match and despite having two days off looked sharp at the net to outscore their opponents, 32-27 on spikes, 10-4 on blocks and 3-2 on aces.
Barbados were also very efficient with the use of the ball and only committed 18 errors to its opponent 30, in the one hour, 23 minutes contest.
"Going into the match, we knew we had to play better than we did against T&T," said Barbados captain Thonya Joseph. "We had two days off and we worked on the things we did wrong in our first game and in this game our blocking and attacks were much better."
Colina finished with 17 points, inclusive of 15 kills, as Curacao held a narrow advantage on spikes (48-47) and dominated on blocks 11-7, while Jamaica showed more power on service aces, 7-5 but were guilty of 44 errors to its opponent 42.
Curacao's assistant coach Rigoletto Thode relished his side facing a major challenge from the Jamaicans, but was relieved to grab the win.
"We knew coming off the loss to the defending champions Bahamas that we were capable of playing another tough match and the guys showed great belief and we now look ahead to another tough test against Suriname," he said.