B’dos off to losing start
Six-time queens Barbados made a horrible start to the 15th Caribbean Volleyball Championship on Monday night by losing in straight sets to host Trinidad and Tobago when the competition began at the Jean Pierre Complex.
T&T, who are looking to match Barbados in title wins, destroyed the Bajans with aces 14-4 and kills 36-16 to easily take the match 25-15, 25-18, 25-14. Channon Thompson, who campaigns in France, led the Hummingbird women with ten kills and four aces.
Darlene Ramdin, who also plays in France, scored ten points for T&T while giantess middle Sinead Jack contributed 11 points. T&T have never won at home with Barbados claiming the crown in T&T in 1993 and 2002.
Former two-time Most Valuable Player, Shari Matthews, scored 13 points for Barbados with fellow professional Anicia Wood and captain Thonya Joseph contributing a mere four points each.
After being outplayed in the first set Barbados began to look competitive in the second before setter Akeelah Blenman fell and injured her ankle. Fourteen-year-old rookie Ashley Jordan was then introduced to run the offence for Barbados.
Coach Andrew Brathwaite indicated that the injury to Blenman was not very serious and with two days to recover before Barbados take to the court he expected the starting setter to be ready for the Suriname game.
Suriname who were the 2010 losing finalists were thumped in straight sets by Jamaica 15-25, 16-25, 15-25. The other women’s team taking part is the Bahamas with the top two teams meeting in a final on Sunday.
After Barbados’ loss Joseph said that going into the encounter they expected the first match to be tough in terms of players being nervous and it was made even tougher coming up against bitter rivals T&T.
“We did not play our best volleyball and going forward we know we have to do much better. We do not play again until Thursday so we have to some time to go back to the drawing board and correct the things we need to,” said Joseph.
Coach Brathwaite stated, “We have a few senior players and for us to get to the final, they along with the newcomers will need to step up and play to their real potential because tonight we were very poor.”
Barbados men, who have won the title a record 10 times, would have been hoping for a better start when they faced T&T last night. That match was postponed from Monday as juniors Jabarry Goodridge, Ammuniki Wood and Chioke Payne were making their way from the Norceca Under 21 championship in El Salvador to join the senior squad.
“For us it was a good way to start the tournament with a win against Barbados coming,” T&T captain, Kelly-Anne Billingy said. “Our all-round offence was better tonight than in recent matches as we served better. We still can play better than this because we are still adjusting to the new system of our new coach along with the inclusion of some new players.”
Nicholson Drakes, T&T’s coach for the first time at theis level said he was not all that happy despite the win. We worked on some things in training and tonight we did not execute them well and we were lucky because Barbados is a team we know puts up a good battle, but tonight they were off their game,” he said. Barbados won the title in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000 and 2002. (KB)