Chargers?and Deacons are the new champions of Goddard Enterprises senior knockout volleyball.
Chargers’ men ended the season unbeaten with a five-set victory – 25-23, 23-25, 25-13, 16-25, 15-11 – over 2012 winners Sandy Crest Medical Centre Deacons at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, on Wednesday night.
Deacons, however, did not go home empty-handed as they had earlier defeated Brydens Rockets to win the women’s title.
It was Mark Lewis who once again led Chargers’ victory bid as he struck the ball from every area to blunt a determined counter from former Caribbean MVP Elwyn Oxley as well as a fired-up Sheldon Roach.
However, the 6ft 6in Lewis received greater support from Damien Danzell, Nicholas Mathias, Romel Agard and libero Stephen Packer.
After splitting the opening two sets, Deacons and Chargers played a tentative cat and mouse game as the scores were locked from the first points up to nine before Deacons apparently hit a wall as Chargers rattled off easy points to crush their opponents 25-13 in the set.
Oxley then stepped up to drag his team back into the game to engineer a fifth set.
With the equally divided crowd getting involved in the action, the decisive set was evenly balanced with Deacons holding an 8-7 advantage at the switch.
However, with the reincarnated Matthias finding his range and getting good support, Chargers accelerated to 12-9 to force Deacons into calling a time out.
Deacons would earn two more points before a dig at game and match point 14-11 by Danzell saw Matthias completing his rebirth as an outside attacker with a cracking kill to start the coronation.
A jubilant Chargers coach Leron Knight explained that in spite of some minor hiccups during the game his team stuck to the plan of taking the fight to Deacons.
“Our goal after taking this knockout crown is to complete the double,” Knight said.
Deacons’ coach Andrew Culpepper said that his men played below par.
“We did not execute as we can and that could have been a result of the added pressure where our senior teams are facing the challenge of matching our lower division sides which won all of their titles earlier in the year,” he said.
In the women’s final, Flow Sentry Brokers Deacons came from a set down to capture the title by dethroning Rockets 23-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-23.
With the Rockets sticking to their winning formula of overdependence on professional duo Shari Matthews and Anicia Wood, Deacons played a total team game to recover from the loss of the first set as the Rockets leaked points whenever Matthews and Wood rotated to the back court.
Former Caribbean Best Libero Katrina Wickham committed numerous attacking errors and her ground play bled points that constantly saw Wood and Matthews trying to hold off Deacons while attempting to stop the haemorrhaging.
While Deacons’ coach Andrew Culpepper rotated his bench and starters to maintain a fighting unit on court, the Rockets tried to launch with too many non-paying passengers.
The Rockets were also affected by steady setter Andrea Flores being called for a plethora of handling errors.
Rockets coach Paul Payne expressed concern over the numerous whistles blown on his setter’s play while Culpepper of Deacons explained that his team stuck to the plan of maximizing their efforts to gain points when Matthews and Wood rotated to the back court.