Tourney packed KO punch
The 2013 Goddard Enterprises Limited Volleyball Knockouts climaxed exactly one week ago with the crowning of two new champions in Flow Sentry Brokers Deacons women and Chargers men in what was arguably the most competitive season in decades.
The exciting finals were given added drama with the presence of a very large crowd from almost every sporting arena watching Deacons women and Chargers men being crowned new monarchs by dethroning Brydens Rockets and Sandy Crest Medical Centre Deacons, respectively.
Chargers also ended the season as the lone unbeaten team after surviving two five-setters against Deacons.
The excitement of the season was ignited early by the Juniors who were fresh from capturing the Caribbean Volleyball Championship in Guadeloupe and who maintained that high with shockers over Deacons, Progressive, Cawmere and Foundation United. Unfortunately, the departure of Jabarry Goodridge on a United States scholarship saw the Juniors folding to Chargers and then Deacons in the semis.
While one can only wonder what would have occurred had Goodridge been available to lead the Juniors to the end of the knockout, it was seen how much of a contribution the current Juniors can make to the future of volleyball.
Ammuniki Wood was a starter in the finals for Chargers and Stephen Packers proved to be the better of two liberos used by Chargers in the finals. Andriy Stapleton came off of the bench to produce for Deacons and Carlos Cyrus did a similar job for Chargers in the finals.
The twist and turns in the preliminary matches gave little indication as to who would have clinched the titles.
Chargers had looked invincible with Mark Lewis as an offensive weapon until Elwyn Oxley took charge of the Deacons team to convince his young teammates that Chargers could be challenged.
A similar superior stance by the multi-talented Rhe-Ann Niles had suggested that league queens Warrens Jaguars were looking to take the knockout crown until they suffered a hiccup and suffered their first defeat in the last preliminary match against Chargers.
The regaining of setter Andrea Flores to feed sets to professionals Shari Matthews and Anicia Wood revived the Rockets before the unpredictable Deacons created the upset.
The semi-finals saw eight squads in battle with the Juniors being the only team to have never won a title. Cerebral play from Julia Lewis and Fabia Greaves complemented the consistency of new find Dionne Licorish and the United States-trained De-Ann Smith as Deacons’ all-round team play proved superior to win against Warrens and then the Rockets in the finals.
While Deacons’ men did well to carry Chargers to five sets, the superior attack and defence of Chargers were expected to give them the match. Unfortunately, while Chargers’ setter Alain London realized the value of overfeeding Lewis with sets, opposite setter Ronald Rice ignored Oxley too often in a bid to equally involve lesser spikers.
Deacons and the Rockets will have two chances to correct their losses in the knockout finals when they return to the court in the 2013 league season which began last Sunday.