Barbados men defeated Haiti in straight sets to claim their second consecutive victory at the 10th Caribbean Junior Volleyball Championship last night at the Wildey Gymnasium.
Delivering an all-round performance, the Bajan lads were in complete control on their way to a 25-17, 25-11, 25-12 victory, to somewhat avenge Haiti’s victory over their female counterparts on Tuesday.
What made the result all the more impressive was the fact that Barbados’ captain Andriy Stapleton –– arguably the team’s best player –– played with a muscle strain in his shoulder which made him unable to play his usual hard hitting shots.
Haiti actually led 8-4 at the first technical time out, but utilizing strong play at the net, Barbados was able to claw their way back to lock the scores at 8-8.
Niles was all over the court with some exceptional plays and teamed up with Paul Doughty to block an attack from Haiti’s best goal scorer Judenel Paul who had nine spikes from 26 attempts. That gave Barbados the lead 9-8 but the scores were 9-9 shortly after and Niles, again with a shot, put his side back out front with 10-9.
Then Barbados outside player Carlos Cyrus, who had a total of 11 from 33 attempts, gave them the lead once more 11-9 and they went on to lead at the second technical time out 16-9.
After the break gave Cyrus Haiti a much needed advantage when he served into the nets but the visitors failed to capitalize and Barbados went on to win the set comfortably and take a 1-0 lead.
The local men give the crowd something to shout about in the second set when they got off to a flier 16-6 at the second technical time out. Mayers in particular hit some big cross swings and Barbados’ defence were spot on especially Doughty and Shamar Blades. Haiti only managed five points after as Barbados went on to win by 14 points.
In the third set the only thing left for the Bajan men to do was close it out and that they did brilliantly. Haiti won the first point of that set when Niles disappointingly served into the nets but he redeemed himself with a hard swing and leveled the score 1-1. From there on it was 8-4 to Barbados, who had a strong momentum going their way that allowed the hosts to lead 16-8. Haiti just found the going tough there after and Barbados’ men had every reason to celebrate.
Coach of the Barbados men’s team John Stuart said he could not ask for a better performance from his side and is not too worried about Stapleton.
“The blocking was far better than the last game so from here onwards we could only get better,” Stuart said.
After the game, Stapleton said he is very pleased with the performances from his team who is well aware of his injury and just need to keep up the fight.
“During the game [Monday] I hit a ball coming on to the end and got a muscle strain. But [tonight] it feels good.
I did not try to push it too hard and then coming on to the end it felt sore so I tried to ease up a little bit,” said Stapleton.
The captain appeared a bit out of sorts on court, but explained that it has nothing to do with the injury but more of a mental situation, knowing that he cannot perform to the best of his ability.
In other games played yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago men defeated Martinique 3-1 in the best of five sets at 25-12, 18-25, 25-15 and 25-11. Martinique will try to break Barbados winning streak when they take on the host this evening at 6pm. Meanwhile Barbados’ women will look to capture their first win against Trinidad and Tobago’s women at 8 p.m.