Barbados girls rally to reach volleyball final
THE GIRLS’ quest for their first title is still alive. Just barely though.
Barbados pulled off a comeback for the ages, rallying from two sets down and daunting 9-4 fifth-set deficit before advancing to the finals of the junior women’s CAZOVA Championship via tonight’s miraculous victory over USVI at the Wildey Gym.
Led by outside hitters Shonte Seale and Deandra Small, the Bajan lasses achieved the unbelievable, coming back to pull off the huge 20-25, 22-25, 25-10, 25-23, 15-12 stunner in front an emotionally-charged home crowd.
It was the stuff dreams were made of as the home team looked dead and buried after wasting great 4-1 and 8-4 starts in the first and second sets, respectively to fall into what seemed an insurmountable 0-2 hole.
But the home team eventually found the right combination and stormed out a furious 9-1 lead after scoring seven unanswered points to start the third set.
Kayla James and captain Ashley Jordan keyed the surge with some huge blocks before 13-year-old setting sensation Dashonta Addison rattled off some easy points off her flat serve to put Barbados ahead 19-8.
Addison then brought Seale and Small to life on the outside, and the two power hitters delivered, closing out the set at ten with four straight kills between them – highlighted by Seale’s booming spike down the middle.
And they weren’t done there either, as the dynamic duo powered the hosts to a whirlwind 15-6 advantage in quick time with the help of some timely aces from Jordan.
However, poor passing nearly cost the Bajans the set – and the game – as the visitors rattled off five straight points behind sisters Khrystin and Khrysti Rosa’s deft dinks.
The run wasn’t done just yet though, even after Barbados head coach Patrick Oxley’s belated timeout, with the USVI silencing the stunned home crowd by locking the scores at 21 and then 22.
But Seale and Small came up big again, hitting a pair of spikes off the blocks to allow Barbados to escape with the set at 23.
Yet all that work seemed futile once Barbados’ poor passing and weak defensive work combined to give USVI a menacing 9-4 cushion in the fifth set.
The Bajan lasses just refused to go away quietly, just like their boisterous fans, who urged them on to the most stirring of 11-3 finishes.
At one point Barbados strung together six straight points to take their first lead of the set before putting away the game again on some timely serves from Addison and Small’s hitting off the blocks.
Khrysti produced yet another deft dink to give USVI hope, but substitute Lemiah Bates served the ball in the middle of the net to hand the hosts the win.
Seale led Barbados with 15 points and Small had 12 while Khrystin led USVI with 15 points.
The Bajans will matchup with pre-tournament favourites Haiti in Sunday’s final after they downed Trinidad and Tobago 25-19, 25-27, 25-8, 25-18 in an earlier semi-final.
Solaida Pierre had 21 points for Haiti while Nicolette De Mille led T&T with 11. (JM)