It is three times the charm for undisputed under-19 volleyball darlings Queen’s College who captured their third consecutive title against main rivals Christ Church Foundation this afternoon at the Springer Memorial hard court. Around this time last year these two teams faced off in the finals and every time Foundation kept knocking at the door, the Queen’s College team consisting of all junior national players did well to shut them out and this year was no different.
The defending champions took the best of five sets showdown in straight sets 25-11, 25-12 and closed it out at 27-25 even though Foundation led by their star player Aaliyah Durant made Queen’s College work for the victory by putting up a strong fight in the third set. Coach of Queen’s College Andrew Brathwaite said there was absolutely no doubt on his part that his ladies from Husbands, St James would have come out on top once more and credited his setter Shanae Boyce in particular for an outstanding performance. ”I did not think Foundation had the depth that would challenge us because of the experience of my team.
This is the team that won the first title [in 2013], a couple [players] left but the core of the team is still there so I did not doubt that we would have won this year. I think our team is more balanced, the experience is there and anyone of our players can stand out and I think that is what separated us from Foundation. Foundation depended too heavily on one player,” said Brathwaite, who made it clear they were also going after the double when they seek to take the knockout title.
Queen’s College have not lost a game in three years and coming into the finals Foundation knew they were up against it but Durant a junior national player started with a bang when she scored three straight points to give her side a 3-0 lead.
Queen’s College captain Janina Mayers took matters into her own hands and quickly responded with two good serves followed by a nice touch from Cairo Blenman to tie the scores and from there on Queen’s College went ahead while Foundation were all over the place and that allowed their opponents to place the ball through the open spaces on court and went ahead 8-3.
Foundation failed to trouble the scorers while Queen’s College were 16-3 at the second technical time out. Durant needed help and even though she did her best with assistance from Tessake Moore in the middle it was not enough as Foundation failed to pass the ball and made too many errors that cost them the opening set.
Queen’s College took that momentum into the second set with the led 8-0 and yet again the hard-hitting Durant had to come to her team’s rescue with some attacking plays. But with the likes of Blenman, Kayla James, Dominique Best and Aaliyah Boyce life was made very difficult for Foundation’s ladies as they tried to get past College’s solid defence. In the third set the tables were reversed as Foundation commanded the early exchanges this time around and led 16-13. Durant again led from the front with some good shots that were helped along by a few unforced errors from Queen’s College.
However, that did not stop the under-19 queens from getting back into the game and levelling the scores at 25-25. Then Foundation’s libero Khadijah Callender played the ball inside the nets and that was followed by a poor shot from Callender that basically handed Queen’s College the trophy. After the game Foundation coach, Skeete explained that they had several downfalls that cost them the game and among them was failing to execute simple passes.
”Our main downfall was the passing and reception and delivering of the ball to attackers. That was our substantial weakness and the first two sets QC did not dominate we fail to pass the ball and as a result the ones that were passed we did not set properly and that combination cost us the game,” Skeete said, while noting that since 1987 Foundation had not won a girls’ title and that they intended to keep knocking at the door until they got a breakthrough.
Tomorrow Queen’s College’s under-19 boys will be hoping to be just as successful as the girls when they visit defending champions Barbados Community College and seek to dethrone them in the final starting at 4p.m. Brathwaite said he knew it would be tough but was looking forward to the challenge.
”The boys are ready we know BCC is an experienced team with quite a few players who are currently in training with the junior national team but our boys are focused and they had their final practice earlier today and I expect them to put on a good show.”