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Cruz happy with showing by v-ballers
Francisco “Panchee” Cruz, the Cuban-born coach of the T&T women’s volleyball team was satisfied with his team’s seventh place showing at the nine-team 22nd Norceca Women’s Continental Championship at the Hector Sola Bezares Coliseum in Caguas, Puerto Rico on Friday. The 29th world ranked ‘Calypso Spikers’ reigning four-time Caribbean champions won 26-24, 25-21, 25-12. In the group stages, T&T led by France-based Krystle Esdele was beaten in both its Pool B matches by 20th ranked Canada 25-15, 28-30, 25-22, 25-11 and five-time tournament winner, second rankd USA 25-14, 25-16, 25-11, to end with a 0-2 record. Despite losing both its matches, T&T secured a spot for the seventh place playoff because of having a better VIS point ratio of .757 than Costa Rica (.608), and Panama (.480). Speaking after Friday’s win, Esdelle who topscored for T&T with 16 points said “We knew about the talent of Costa Rica and our goal was to remain focused and we are very happy with this victory.” Cruz added, “I am very satisfied with the development of our team and we have worked very hard to reach the level we are now.” The win for T&T avenged an 18-25, 22-25, 23-25 loss to Costa Rica at the 2009 edition of the tournament which was also held in Puerto Rico. Costa Rica had also beaten T&T for the bronze medal at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Puerto Rico last year.
According to team manager, the win over the Costa Ricans who qualified for the 2011 World Championships was good signal that T&T is on the road towards qualifying for the 2014 world championships. Commenting on T&T’s showing at the tounament, Norceca president, Cristobal Marte Hoffiz said he wished a had a group of athletes like the “Calypso Spikers”. “This is a great victory for T&T and I hope the public back home acknowledges the importance of this triumph. “Step by Step T&T women’s team continue to move forward, ended Hoffiz. In its previous appearances at the tournament, T&T was eight in 2009, sixth in 2007 and eight again in 2005. Yesterday, in the gold medal match, USA came up against defeding champions Dominican Republic while 13-time winner, Cuba battled host Puerto Rico for bronze. In Friday’s semifinals, Olympic and FIVB World Grand Prix champions USA outclassed Cuba 25-20, 25-17, 25-13 and Dominican Republic brused aside Puerto Rico 25-16, 25-23, 25-22. The winner of the tournament will earn a ticket to the FIVB World Cup in Japan next November.
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