Barbados men’s volleyball season is off and running.
And last night at the Kensington Oval Bond, the Goddard Enterprises Limited Division One programme got started with league champions Flow Deacons defeating newcomers All Stars and Foundation winning a thriller against Progressive.
Deacons, attired in their traditional green, and in no mood to be charitable, gave All Stars a taste of what it means to be in the big league with a 25-18, 25-18 and 25-16 beating. As the scores suggest, though, All Stars lost in three straight sets but they were far from embarrassed. Better is expected of them as the competition continues.
But the real exciting volleyball action came in the feature game of the night between Barbados Bearing and Gittens Landscaping Progressive and Foundation United that went right down to a fifth and decisive set.
Foundation were the eventual winners 27-29, 25-21, 26-24, 23-25 and 15-13 to the delight of their supporters who were thrilled to see the performance from the Church Hill side. Foundation did not have the best of league seasons last year and will be looking to have some impact this time around with a team boasting a number of junior national players such as Darien Seale, Paul Doughty and Shamar Bishop.
Progressive also had a quality line-up of national players led by captain Akeem Payne, Fabian Cox, Rico Brathwaite, Chioke Holder and some others. The match was tied 1-1 leading into the third set as both teams sought to swing the momentum in their favour.
At the second technical time out of the third set Progressive were ahead 16-13 when Foundation came from behind to level the scores 16-16 compliments a smash from Doughty down the middle followed by two good blocks at the nets from Foundation’s defenders.
Progressive still managed to press ahead 20-17 but that lasted only for so long as Foundation remained persistent to cut the deficit by two at 21-23. This forced Progressive’s coach Marcus Green to call time-out.
It seemed that talk made no difference because on resumption Cox hit into the nets and then Bishop and Chad Callender came up with a good block and eventually they levelled the scores at 23-23 for Foundation. Another error by Progressive proved costly and allowed Foundation to take the lead 24-23 but Progressive responded well through their chief spiker Cox whose hard smash brought parity to the score at 24-24. Foundation went on to win 26-24 compliments of respective serves from Callender and Bishop that Progressive were unable to dig out.
Progressive needed to capture the fourth set to stay in the game and yet again they led 22-20 but Foundation showed great determination throughout the game and took the attack to their opponents. Doughty with yet another good shot which was followed by a lovely cover from Bishop, Callender and Seale to block Payne of Progressive and tie the scores at 22-22. But Progressive never let up and went on to win 25-23 to force a decisive fifth set.
Progressive were yet again in the drivers’ seat 10-6 in the fifth set but a poor serve from Chioke Holder turned the momentum in Foundation’s favour as they managed to move from 6-10 to once more lock the scores 10-10 and eventually they went on to take the advantage at 14-13 and from there, close out the match.