Pan American International Insurance Warrens women and Chargers men are the respective double crown champions of the Goddard Enterprises Limited Senior Volleyball Championship.
As the 2016 volleyball season concluded Sunday night at Oldbury, St Phillip, the women of FLOW Deacons surrendered their knockout title to new queens Warrens who came from behind to win 3-2 in a five set showdown.
Warrens who had retained their league title November last year with an unbeatable performance, showed exactly why they are the undisputed champions of women’s volleyball when they came from two sets down to register a 14-25, 24-26, 25-20, 25-15 and 15-13 victory against Deacons.
Meanwhile Chargers men are back on top of Division One Volleyball as they won the league and then earned a spot in the knockout final where they won 19-25, 25-20, 25-23 and 25-13 against Cawmere to lift the championship yesterday.
The women from Jackson got off to a sluggish start against Deacons exhibiting the world of confidence during their title defence with captain Mona Crawford leading from the front. Crawford, one of the better servers for Deacons, was exceptional and at one point had four consecutive aces during the first set. That along with good passing from the Andrew Culpepper-coached side allowed Barbados senior and junior national attackers Julia Lewis and Shonte Seale to execute good attacking shots at Warrens’ sub-par defence.
It was those kind of plays that gave Deacons momentum but Warrens coached by Mark Lewis and led by captain Talya Layne managed to restrict Deacons’ style of play by responding swiftly to balls hit in mid court.
National players Rhe-Ann Niles and Anthazia Mason along with Jamilia Corbin decided they had seen enough of Deacons’ dominance in the first two quarters and decided to swing big off decent set pieces by Sophie Walcott and that worked in Warrens’ favour as they claimed the third and fourth sets and in the process forced a fifth and decisive battle.
The scores as expected were extremely close during the fifth set with Mason of Warrens and Lewis of Deacons matching each other shot for shot. The deficit was only one, 14-13, to Warrens who were just one point away from writing their names on the trophy and that they did thanks to young attacker Xhane Greenidge with the winning shot.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY after the game, Warrens’ coach Mark Lewis said it was a hard-fought victory but was pleased with the end results.
“The first two sets I would give that to Deacons, they came out as champions and they were very confident and they had my girls [Warrens] really worried about if they could take this all the way.
“ It was about trusting the girls, we had a very good league season, our training programme coming up to this competition was very good and it was just knowing the players and knowing what they were capable of and just allowing them to play their game. But they just needed some reinforcement and I was glad to give them that and they were able to find their way home,” Lewis said.
In the men’s final, umbrellas were definitely needed especially when one has one of Barbados’s top attacking players in Shawn Simpson in one’s line-up. Cawmere with Simspon and Robert Andrews made an early statement spiking the ball hard, which had junior national players Ashan Jordan and Stephen Packer digging deep very early in the first set to keep the ball alive.
Cawmere took a 1-0 lead and Chargers with two of their more experience players, captain Alain London and player coach Dale Addison, managed to bring themselves back into the game. Junior national attacker Carlos Cyrus was extremely destructive.
In addition to Simpson, Cyrus’ attacking plays were one of the main highlights of the final thanks to London, one of the best national setters Barbados currently has. His play allowed Cyrus and Addison to go hard at the ball which resulted in them taking the momentum away from Cawmere and levelling the game 1-1.
In the third set, Cawmere suffered a big blow when setter Lamon Blades picked up a left- foot injury that definitely took away their mobility and allowed Charges to dominate proceedings from there onwards as Cawmere who played well to reach the final were unable to keep the ball alive and lost grip of the title.
After the final Addison said it was a hard- fought victory for Chargers with at least four of their players coming into the final injured.
“The volleyball was a lot tougher than we thought but the guys came out, they played hard and pulled through. We started off a bit slowly because we were passing the ball but not attacking, so I told the men to free up, relax and swing and if we get block that is part of the game but just swing,” Addison said.