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V-ball semis on today

Kenmore Bynoe

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Mental and physical fitness will be the deciding factors when the Cooperators General Insurance Volleyball Knockout semi-finals are staged this evening at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
The availability and/or performance of key players who are battling various injuries and the “thinking” of some of those who will be on court will determine if any of the matches extend beyond four sets and who will advance to Sunday’s finals.
The women will battle from 6:30 p.m. with defending champions Freekz Customs Chargers meeting TeleBarbados Sentry Brokers Deacons while Warrens will battle the fiery Brydens Rockets.  
The men take to the court at 8 p.m. with Chargers facing Cawmere and Deacons clashing with Progressive.
Neither Chargers teams has looked impressive this season with the absence of an injured Dania Hamilton hurting the women’s attack while injury to Mark Lewis and the earlier absence of an unfit looking Damien Danzel and Romel Agard have threatened Chargers men’s hopes of repeat.
However, the superior height, size and offence of Deacons were often rendered useless due to a lack of mental fortitude and their propensity to inexplicably play some substandard volleyball.  
A mental collapse would give the consistent Chargers a free ticket to the finals even without Hamilton.
The Rockets will be looking to reach the finals for the third successive year on the back of the awesome attack of Shari Matthews and Anicia Wood as well as setter Andrea Flores who has finally recognized where to get her points.  The match could be closer if Warrens’ setter Sophia Walcott realizes that her points will only come from Anthazia Mason, Rheann Niles and the robust Talya Layne.
Even so, Rockets’ Matthews and Wood were almost unstoppable while the same could not be said of the Warrens spikers.  
In addition, Rockets’ supporting cast understand their role much better than Warrens’ which could make the world of difference.
Deacons’ men have reached the semis unbeaten and the cadre of young talent lead by new Barbados skipper Jamaal Nedd should put out Progressive who are struggling to find a consistent setter.  
With Reneir Grace not fully fit, the talents of Akeem Payne and Fabian Cox, which are often distracted and thwarted by egos, will decide the outcome of that match-up tonight.
The availability of Shawn Simpson could give Cawmere a fighting edge against a Chargers’ team that is over-dependent on Dale Addison’s fighting spirit and his skills of playing every position on court.  
However, Lewis could provide the spark for Chargers to jump into the finals over an unpredictable dark horse, Cawmere.