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V’ball champs back home

Kenmore Bynoe

V’ball champs back home

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For the second day in succession, a Barbados team landed at the Grantley Adams International Airport yesterday as conquering heroes after returning from a regional junior championships.
The boys’ volleyball team shook off a two-hour delayed flight from Guadeloupe and Dominica with the rousing reception from friends, family, Barbados Volleyball Association officials and some members of the girls’ junior team, celebrating Barbados’ triumph as well the triple success of Jabarry Goodridge, who picked up the the MVP, Best Scorer, and Best Attacker.
For president of the BVA, John Griffith, the wait was minor considering that during his long tenure Barbados has had to wait eight-year periods to capture the Junior Caribbean Volleyball Championship in 1997 at home, 2005 in Aruba and this year in Guadeloupe.
“We recognized the ageing of our senior players and the fact that the retiring players were not being replaced fast enough to maintain the high stock of our national teams,” Griffith said.
“Thus, the BVA made a determined effort to fund and promote our junior programmes and we believe that we are seeing the fulfilment of that decision.”
A similar sentiment was expressed by coach John Stuart who was the assistant coach in 1997 and who would have won many titles as a national player and senior team assistant coach. 
“Having these guys play as a team in the local competition and also allowing them to turn out for various division one teams during the same competitions helped to develop their game.”
However, while Stuart was pleased with the overall performance of his team and some outstanding performances from Goodridge, captain Ammuniki Wood, Chioke Holder, Andriy Stapleton, setter, Kemar Hinds and young libero, Ashan Jordan, the National Sports Council coach lamented the conditions in Guadeloupe.
“I must say that it was only God, tremendous discipline, our training and the drive of the players which saw us taking the championship.”
With Barbados qualifying for next year’s Norceca juniors, Stuart has targeted the ground defence as one of the critical areas that they will need to work on.
“We in Barbados traditionally get excited about spiking but ground defence and cutting down on the passing errors will make a great difference when we go to the next level,” he said.
The ground defence was also cited as an area for concern by captain Wood, who along with Stapleton and Holder, enjoyed some monster blocks on their opponents. 
Wood and Goodridge suggested that the Norceca juniors would expose them to bigger and more aggressive players from Cuba, the United States and Canada and they would have to block even better and look to improve on their passing and defence.
Goodridge, who is also a member of the senior team, accepted that being relieved of the captaincy of the juniors might have been a blessing in disguise. 
“Although I was still seen as one of the senior players in the team, without the additional burden of being captain, I was able to play with greater freedom to help my team to take the crown,” said Goodridge.