Team T&T did not disappoint at the XXII Goodwill Swimming Championship which was held in St Lucia, recently coming away with their third consecutive win in as many years.
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‘Calypso Spikers’ snare sixth Cazova title
France-based Darlene Ramdin led three players in double-figures as T&T’s “Calypso Spikers” crushed Jamaica in three sets (25-12, 25-13, 25-12) in the Women’s Division final of the 15th Senior Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (Cazova) Championship at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo, on Sunday.
The win for T&T led by first year head coach Nicholson Drakes was a historic one in many ways. It was achieved on home soil and led by captain Kelly-Anne Billingy after finishing third in 1993 and second in 2002 in tournaments won by Barbados.
In addition, the victory which came in 72 minutes was a record fifth straight (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014) to go past Barbados which won in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004 as the teams with the most wins on the trot, while both teams now have the same amount of titles overall as well, six.
Barbados was also crowned champions in 1993 and 1994 while T&T got its first in 1996.
Bahamas with its victories in 1992 and 1995, and the now defunct Netherlands Antilles, which won the inaugural title in 1991 are the only other teams to have won.
For T&T, Ramdin who copped one of the “Best Spiker” awards had nine kills, three blocks and three kills in her 15 points output and she was well supported by fellow France-based starlet and ‘Best Spiker” awardee Channon Thompson with 12, inclusive of ten kills while Marisha Herbert added ten.
Thompson also collected the “Best Server” and “Most Valuable Player” of the tournament
The 31st world ranked “Calypso Spikers” dominated the Jamaica “Riddim Girlz” to lead 35-14 on spikes, 10-2 on blocks and 6-1 on service aces while committing only 20 errors to their opponent’s 24.
Chicago-born Jamaican captain, Simone Asque who has played professionally in Cyprus and Denmark had six points and Karenza Beckford, four in the loss.
The second placed finish was the third for Jamaica, having done so in a 1996 loss to T&T, and in 2004 to Barbados.
An elated Billingy speaking after yet another triumph for her team which is now unbeaten at the Cazova level since losing in the 2004 semifinals, said her team was happy to accomplish its goal of a record fifth straight title to equal Barbados with six titles overall.
“During the tournament I don’t think we played our best volleyball and tonight the girls really stepped it up a bit by saving their best for last.
Billingy also praised for the crowd support saying, “We are thankful for the extra energy they brought.
Drakes after capturing his maiden crown as coach said he was happy to see the improvement of the team from the first match to the final.
“As the tournament went along we had to make adjustments and tonight our serving, passing and blocking was at a level that we have come to expect, which made it difficult for Jamaica.”
Best Spiker: Channon Thompson (T&T)
Best Spiker: Darlene Ramdin (T&T)
Best Opposite: Sandrina Hunsel (Suriname)
Best Receiver: Rheeza Grant (T&T)
Best Digger: Farahnaz Levens (Suriname)
Best Blocker: Shani Leacock (Barbados)
Best Blocker: Thonya Joseph (Barbados)
Best Setter: Cheryl Brunnings (Suriname)
Best Libero: Farahnaz Levens (Suriname)
Best Server: Channon Thompson (T&T)
Best Scorer: Sandrina Hunsel (Suriname)
Most Valuable Player: Channon Thompson (T&T)