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Barbados overwhelms T&T to earn semis spot
The experienced pair of Shawn Simpson and Fabian Cox combined for 30 points to lead record ten-time winners Barbados past host T&T 20-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-18 in their Men’s Pool B decider of the 15th Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Championship at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo, on Wednesday night
With the victory, Barbados which also defeated Suriname in its first match topped the three-team round-robin series to join defending champions and Pool A winners, Bahamas as automatic qualifiers to tomorrow’s semifinal.
T&T, which ended second in the pool with a 1-1 record and Suriname (0-2) will now contest today’s quarterfinal against Pool A remaining duo, Curacao and Jamaica, who met last night to determine second and third in their group.
The men’s quarterfinals are scheduled for 4 pm and 6 pm.
The left-handed Simpson led the way with 16 points which included 15 kills while Cox added a valuable 14, highlighted by 11 kills and three blocks as the Barbadians got their first win over T&T since the 2010 preliminary round in Suriname, before losing in the final to the same opponents.
Jabari Goodridge and captain Alain London chipped in with six and five points respectively for the winners who held the advantage on spikes, 45-41, but were outplayed on blocks, 11-10 and service aces, 3-1.
The Barbadians also benefited from another 39 errors by the host, the second such tally in as many matches while committing 33 of their own.
For T&T, Simon Blake, had a team-high 14 points, inclusive of 12 kills and a block while Brandon Legall and France-based Ryan Stewart added eight apiece and Mikheil Hoyte, seven in the loss.
T&T captain Nolan Tash said his team came into the match full of confidence to win the match. “We started off very well, but at the end of the second set our intensity level dropped and Barbados took advantage of it,” he said.
“We know our blocks are a key part of our game, but tonight we did not do a good job against Simpson and Cox, who had great games.”
“With the loss, we now have to prepare to play in the quarterfinals, but we will be ready for the challenge as we aim to get to the final.”
Barbadian captain Alain London was quick to point out that his team started very slow, but in the end they began to fire on all cylinders and got the win to top the group.
“Once again we tried to limit of errors as much as possible, play aggressive volleyball and keep the pressure on the opponents”, ended London.
T&T coach Gideon Dickson after seeing his team take the first set convincing before going downhill said the Barbadians capitalised on the key moments of the match.
“We went flat in the last part of the second set and lost our momentum and that was the difference tonight.
Barbados coach Niles Ludger was quick to point out that when his team left home, their first target was to top the group as they saw two days of rest ahead of the semifinals as being very key.
“Against T&T we also tried to keep Blake and Honore as quiet as possible, and we managed that a bit tonight while our balance team all played a part in the win.
In Wednesday’s first men’s match, Byron Ferguson had another impressive night as Bahamas secured another five-set victory, 25-22, 22-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-10, this time over Jamaica to top Pool A with a 2-0 mark.