My son Kyle’s first word was “Car”. His second word was “Bang”. So I’m hoping this isn’t a harbinger of things to come.
For the second match in a row, T&T Under-18 women’s volleyball were guilty of too many self-inflicted errors—39 in total—and paid the price in a 19-25, 19-25, 20-25 loss to Guatemala in their second and final Pool A match at the NORCECA Continental Championships at the National Gymnasium, in San Jose on Wednesday night.
The loss follows a 33-error outing by the young Calypso Spikers in their 21-25, 15-25, 14-25 defeat at the hands of host Costa Rica on Tuesday’s opening day of competition in the nine-team tournament, from which the three teams will earn tickets to next year’s FIVB Women’s Under-18 World Championship.
Following its opening night loss, T&T needed a win to have a chance to qualify for the quarterfinals, but despite maintaining a close battle with Guatemala, and even taking the lead on several occasions, the Reann Young-skippered T&T youngsters succumbed to their second loss.
Maria Garcia was the top scorer with 11 points for Guatemala, which came up against Costa Rica last night for top spot in the group and a chance at an automatic semifinal appearance, while Maria Alarcon added ten and Christa Reinoso, eight in the win.
For T&T, Young followed up her match-high 16 points in the loss with Costa Rica with 12 points, Kaylon Cruickshank got seven, Destiny Leon six and Aaliyah Alexis, four.
Guatemala also dominated T&T with a wide 12-1 margin in service aces and 23-23 on spikes, while the losers weren’t able to take advantage of their better blocking performance by 7-0.
Speaking after the match, Reinoso, captain of Guatemala said they were nervous. “We thought it would be easier and it wasn’t, we were anxious to begin the championship and it was difficult to avoid their blocking. We need to work harder and define our passing better”.
Young said: “We didn’t have consistency in our blocking; we need to be stronger and have more determination in winning.”
David Aldana, the Guatemala coach was delighted with the win but heaped praised on head coach William Fernandez, who he said was unable to make the trip.
He added, “This is a complicated pool, the three teams play at the same level and we knew that T&T would block us all the way. This is the category that we need to develop and work harder because in the senior category both T&T and Costa Rica are in a higher level than ours.”
Macsood Ali, coach of T&T continues to be upset. “I know my team can do much better; we are not playing with rhythm as we can’t sustain an advantage in the score; our inexperience shows”.
In Pool B, Mexico blanked Honduras 25-9, 25-8, 25-7 to set up a top-of-the-table encounter with seven-time champion and winners of the last six editions USA last night while in Pool C, Dominican Republic stormed past St Lucia 25-4, 25-2, 25-4 ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with Puerto Rico last night.
When matches continue today, T&T will have an off day, as it has the best points co-efficient ratio of the three third placed teams in the pools, inclusive of St Lucia and Honduras, and will play the winner of tonight’s meeting between St Lucia and Honduras in tomorrow’s seventh place playoff.
All three teams ending with 0-2 pool records but T&T has a points co-efficient ratio of .720 to Honduras’ .327 and St Lucia’s .193.
The quarterfinal matches will also take place today, but the line-ups were to be determined following last night’s final round of group matches.