T&T senior women’s volleyballers ended in the cellar-spot after losing to Costa Rica 19-25, 21-25, 19-25 in their play-off for the seventh spot at the NORCECA Women’s Continental Cup at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday.
With the win, Costa Rica finished with 1-4 record while the Kiune Fletcher-captained youthful T&T team ended without a win after five attempts to sit in the eighth position.
Despite the loss, the team coached by Sean Morrison had its best overall performance against their more experienced opponents and it was evident, by the team's sets points differential throughout the competition.
The T&T women even rallied from 11-18 down in the third set and won five points in a row to bring the score to within two points (16-18), but the Central Americans kept their composure and swept to victory.
Overall, the Costa Ricans led 33-26 in kills, 6-3 in blocks and held a slim 11-10 margin in aces while allowing 20 points in errors and scoring 25 opponent errors.
For the winners, Tamara Espinoza topped all scorers with 20 points on 17 kills and three aces while Fletcher led T&T with 17 points and Afiya Alexander added nine.
Speaking after the loss, Morrison said despite the close-set scores it was his team's best showing.
Morrison said, “The last performance wasn't our best, we played better against USA, Cuba and Dominican Republic, and in the easiest match we didn’t. Costa Rica kept its game-plan, the team didn’t let go while we made too many errors that caused us to come in the last position. We need to learn from our mistakes to be better for the future”.
In the round-robin phase, eight-time Caribbean champions, T&T, ended at the bottom of Pool B with a 0-3 record after straight-sets defeats against the USA, ranked second in the world, tenth-ranked Dominican Republic, and 21st ranked Mexico and was then defeated by Cuba in the fifth to eighth place semifinals.
In the second match yesterday, Mexico defeated Cuba 25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 25-22 to seal the fifth spot, and with it a spot in the NORCECA final-four 2020 Olympic Qualifiers in January alongside host Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Canada .
In the finals, Dominican Republic was due to clash with the USA while Canada got bronze after beating Puerto Rico 26-24, 25-13, 25-20.
The meeting between USA and Dominican Republic will be their fourth title clash after meeting in 2011, 2013, and 2015 finals, all won by the USA, which has already qualified to the Olympics.