COUVA, Trinidad and Tobago – Ten-time winners Barbados reached the semifinals of the 16th Senior Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Men’s Championship with a 3-2 win (25-18, 17-25, 25-22, 20-25, 16-14) win over Jamaica in their Pool E decider at the National Cycling Centre Thursday night.
With the win, the Barbadians who trailed 8-13 in the final set before winning eight of the next nine points to snatch victory ended with a 3-0 round-robin record and nine points.
This after they also won their previous two matches against 2012 winners Bahamas and debutants Haiti, by a similar 3-2 margin to secure the lone automatic semifinal spot from the pool.
Team captain, Shawn Simpson was the outstanding scorer for Barbados with 18 points including the match-winning block and Kyle Brown added 14 as they made full use of the 51 errors committed by Jamaica.
On the other side of the net, Jahmion Hartley had 18 points for Jamaica, Martin Blake had 17, and veteran Dellon Brown, ten.
Jamaica had the better of exchanges on spikes, 44-34 as well as blocks 14-10 and service aces 10-8, but were let down at crucial points by errors.
Following the tense encounter, Jamaica captain, Andre Mc Lean said his team failed to close out the match because they were too inconsistent.
“We played in patches and at a crucial time when we needed to be at our best we were not.”
Barbadian Shawn Simpson was happy that his team managed to get out a difficult match with a win.
“We continue to show our fighting spirit and I am very glad to see this kind of effort from a veryJamaica coach Gatasheu Bonner admitted it was a hard loss for his team to accept.
“No team wants to lose a match [when] leading 13-9 in the final set.
“Even though the call was not a good one in my view at 13-14 we should not have allowed Barbados back into the match.”
“It’s a lesson we will learn from and we must regroup for our next match.”
Meanwhile defending champions and host country, Trinidad and Tobago, battled to another five sets win (25-22, 20-25, 19-25, 25-21, 15-8) over Martinique to top Pool E.
The win, the third by a 3-2 margin for two-time tournament winners Trinidad and Tobago ensured a perfect 3-0 record in Pool E and the automatic semifinal spot for Saturday while Martinique finished third (1-2) and faced Pool D runner-up Jamaica in the first of Friday night’s quarterfinals.
Suriname (2-1), who were second in Pool E, met Pool D third placed team Haiti in the other quarterfinal Friday night.
Team captain Ryan Stewart overcame a slow scoring start to finish with 18 points for T&T, 17 of which were spikes while Brandon Legall added 16, 13 on spikes in the one hour and 54 minutes battle.
The pair of Mikheil Hoyte and Daneil Williams, chipped in with eight points each, and former Finland-based Akim Bushe seven to help secure top spot.
Stephane Alfa had the hot hand for Martinique with 17 points, which comprised mostly of kills, 15 to be exact, and the duo of Yoann Breleur, and Rodrigue Larcher, 14 apiece.
In general, it was a very competitive match by both teams as was evident by the closeness of their overall key facets of the match with T&T holding a slim edge on spikes 46-45, dominating on blocks 13-18 and both teams level with seven service aces each.
One factor of the game, the T&T coaching staff would not have been pleased about though was their high level of errors, which numbered 41 on the night, to Martinique’s 38, close to ten of which came in the final set for the loser on faulty setting.
After the close battle, Martinique captain David Le Faivre said his team lost focus at crucial parts of the match.
“Our aim was to win the match and top the group, but T&T came ready to fight as well and in the end we did not get the result that we wanted and now we have to continue to fight for the chance for the title.”
Stewart said he was extremely pleased with the effort of his players especially when the fell behind again in yet another match.
“The players kept working and in general we also played together as one unit.”
Erialc Eddy, Martinique’s coach, was quick to note that he felt his tea ran out of energy.
“I think in the fifth set my players were tired and that created a lot of mistakes by us. Going forward we need to be much more focus and stronger.”
T&T’s Sean Morrison echoed Stewart sentiments saying he was very happy with the effort of the players.
“It’s not easy to play three straight five-setters and the energy of the team was good. We now have a day off to regain our strength and focus on the semifinals.”
In other action Haiti created a big upset in Pool E when they dumped former champions Bahamas from medal contention with a 3-1 (28-26, 25-16, 16-25, 25-19) victory.
Both teams entered the final round-robin day with 0-2 records after losses to both Barbados and Jamaica, and in need of a win to reach the quarterfinals with the loser to contest the playoff for positions seventh and eight.