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T&T men withstand Jamaica for semis spot
Host T&T withstood an attacking onslaught from Jamaica’s Jamion Hartley to earn a 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 25-21 victory in the second of two quarter-final matches of the 15th Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Men’s Championship at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo, on Friday night.
Leading the way for the 2010 champion and 2012 runner-up, T&T, was Simon Blake with 18 points, while Ryan Stewart got 14, MIkheil Hoyte 12, captain Nolan Tash ten and Marc-Anthony Honore eight, in the balance attack.
On the other side of the net, Hartley was almost a one-man demolition team with his tournament best 28 points which was highlighted by 27 kills, while Nathan Murdock was the next scorer in double-digits with 11 points.
In a match plagued by errors, 28 by T&T and 30 for Jamaica, the host managed to hold a slim edge on spikes (52-51), while dominating on blocks, 12-5, but was outscored on aces 2-3.
Following another heart-breaking loss, Jamaican captain Dellan Brown expressed his frustration with his team coming up short in another tight match-up.
Brown said, “Once again we failed to get over the final hurdle. We were in with a chance in all the sets we were beaten, but we just could not get the result we wanted.
“Our backs were against the wall in this match and the guys stepped up so I must give them credit for the total effort.”
An elated Tash said it was a well-deserving victory for his team.
“We knew after the loss to Barbados we needed to stepped up our game and tonight I must say the guys did a great job.
“We now have a meeting with Bahamas who took our title from us two years ago in US Virgin Islands, but we are confident we will be able to get a repeat of 2010 when we came out on top in the semi-finals on the way to the title.”
Steve David, Jamaica coach said, “Again, I cannot fault the guys for the effort. They played with a lot of heart, but unfortunately we did not get the win. We had a few problems with our blocking, but our attacks were very good tonight.”
T&T’s coach Gideon Dickson said, “Today it was a better game by our mentally and credit to the guys for that.
“We worked on a few things in training and I was very pleased to see that the guys executed the game plan to perfection and now we can look forward to another meeting with Bahamas.”
In Friday’s first quarterfinal, opposite-hitters, Gilbert Paulina and Norandy Bonafasia each scored 18 points to lead Curacao past Suriname 25-19, 25-15, 19-25, 25-14.
Paulina had 16 kills among his tally, while Bonafasia got 15, Derick Colina 12 and Rachid Isenia got nine, in the one hour and 37 minute encounter to keep their team in the hunt for a first podium finish since it was runner-up to Barbados in 2002 as the now defunct Netherlands Antilles.
Curacao’s only CAZOVA triumph came in the inaugural final in 1991 when it also defeated Suriname while it was fourth in 2006.
For Suriname, Antoine Vliet led his team with 11 points, Keven Sporkslede added ten, Furgil Ong-A-Fat seven, and Clyde Fraser six.
Marc Flu and captain Roberto Joval also chipped in with five points each for Suriname but it was not enough in the end against a more determined Curacao line-up which outscored its opponent in kills (50-36) and blocks (11-8).
Curacao also had less errors, 25-30, ahead of its semi-final against either defending champion Bahamas or record ten-time winners Barbados late yesterday, while Suriname had the narrow advantage on aces, 4-3.
Yesterday in the semi-finals, record ten-time champions Barbados came up against Curacao in one semi-final, while 2010 champions tackled Bahamas, which took its title away in US Virgin Islands two years ago.
Today, the third place play-offs and finals, in both men and women competitions will begin from 12 pm.