Gail Alexander and Joel Julien
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Blake, Honore rally T&T men past Suriname
Simon Blake and Portugal-based Marc-Anthony Honore tallied a combined 32 points, as host T&T overcame a first set loss and 39 errors to rally past Suriname 18-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-17 in their Men’s Pool B opener of the 15th Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association Championship (CAZOVA) Tournament on Monday night at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo.
Blake led all scorers in the match with 17 points, punctuated by 13 kills and three aces, while Honore contributed 15 points, made up of 11 kills and three blocks in the entertaining contest which lasted one hour and 40 minutes to conclude the first day of competition.
France-based Ryan Stewart chipped in with nine points, and the duo of veteran captain Nolan Tash and substitute Brandon Legall got eight points each for 2010 champions and runner-up two years ago T&T, and topped their opponents in all key aspects of the match, 48-36 on spikes, 10-6 on blocks and 6-2 on service aces.
Suriname, which started brightly before fading, had a team-high 16 points from Keven Sporklede, while Antoine Vliet and Clyde Fraser got eight points apiece.
Following the loss, Suriname coach Michael Ong-A-Kwie admitted his players were not consistent enough:
“We started off very good and won the first set with good serving and attacks, but then as our game dropped T&T lifted its game with stronger serving of their own while our reception faded, which resulted in too many easy points for them.
Roberto Joval, the Suriname captain, echoed the views of his coach, saying his team lost focus in the second set while T&T grew stronger.
“T&T then produced stronger serves and our defence was not able to pass properly and caused a lot of mistakes by us, which cost us the match.”
Gideon Dickson, coach of the local men’s team, was a relieved man to see his team dig itself out of a difficult situation.
“We knew coming into the tournament all the matches were not going to be easy as was evident against Suriname.
“It was a very interesting encounter by both teams and while we are delighted with the win, we know there is a lot of work still to be done as we go along in the tournament.”
Tash said, “As a team, we are happy to get a win to start up with, especially against a strong Suriname team and this will help with our confidence.
“Overall, we did not start off well, as we committed too many serving and attacking errors.
“However, once we settled into our game we improved in those areas which transferred the pressure to Suriname.”
Next up in Pool B was a meeting between Suriname and record ten-time winner Barbados (1992–1996, 1998 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006) last night, after defending champions Bahamas opened its campaign versus Curacao in Pool A.
Today, Bahamas tackles Jamaica from 6 pm and T&T battles Barbados before round-robin play will end for both groups, with Jamaica facing Curacao in Pool A on Thursday ahead of Friday’s quarter-final matches.
At the end of the round-robin matches, the top team in each pool will advance automatically to the semi-finals, while the second- and third-placed teams meet in cross-over quarter-finals to determine the two remaining final-four teams.
Women: Bahamas vs Jamaica, 4 pm
Men: Bahamas vs Jamaica, 6 pm
Men: T&T vs Barbados, 8 pm
Men: Jamaica vs Curacao, 4 pm
Women: Bahamas vs Barbados, 6 pm
Women: T&T vs Jamaica, 8 pm
Women: Barbados vs Suriname, 2 pm
Men: Quarterfinals, 4 pm
Men: Quarterfinals, 6 pm
Women: T&T vs Bahamas, 8 pm
Men: 5/6th playoff, 12 pm
Women: Barbados vs Jamaica, 2 pm
Women: Bahamas vs Suriname, 4 pm
Men: Semi-final, 6 pm
Men: Semi-final, 8 pm
Third-place playoff and finals, 12 pm
15th CAZOVA Championship:
Jamaica bt Suriname 25-15, 25-16, 25-15
T&T bt Barbados 25-15, 25-18, 25-14
Men (Pool B)
T&T bt Suriname 18-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-17.
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