By Morissa Lindsay
Burger King Clapham Bulls Toners are on course to do the double having won their semifinal match 3-1 against Chargers Club last night in the Goddard Enterprises Limited Barbados Volleyball Association Division One Knockout Competition.
All semifinal matches were played yesterday at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex and in the women’s semifinals Toners defeated Chargers 21-25, 25-23, 25-22 and 25-13, to reach tomorrow’s final against Deacons who won 25-17, 23-25, 25-16 and 25-21 against former champions University of the West Indies Blackbirds.
Coached by Cedric Proverbs, Toners will of course want to add the Division One knockout title with the league trophy which they won a few days ago. But Deacons will also have the double in sight because both their women’s and men’s teams have reached the final.
Deacons’ men made light work of Wow Displays Williams Industries Foundation United in straight sets 25-19, 25-16 and 25-23 to reach the final where they will take on Cawmere who had a 25-17, 23-25, 25-16 and 25-21 victory over Barbados Bearings Progressive.
The women’s showdown was a good contest and with the reigning league champions Toners being at the top of their game this 2022 season, the other women’s clubs in local volleyball will have a bull’s eye on their backs as Chargers surely did.
At the first technical timeout of the opening set, the Chargers ladies coached by Lerone Knight secured a slim 8-7 lead when at 7-7 Thonya Joseph spiked one down the middle and gave her team the advantage. Based on the closeness of the scores from the start of the match, it was a clear indication that both teams meant business.
Chargers were fully plugged in during the first set and by the second technical were up 16-12 as they came out with purpose looking to keep the ball alive and score where possible. Toners, unfortunately, did not have the best of serves or returns and it cost them in the end as Chargers captured the opening set by four points.
Toners needed to recover and bring themselves back into the game by being more disciplined. They got off to a flying 10-2 start before Chargers finally began to respond and scored four straight points. But Toners kept their composure and continued to keep the ball in play as they appeared increasingly more focused on the task at hand.
While Chargers showed good fight and toiled to stay in it, Toners ensured that they were the ones who maintained their slight two-point advantage and won the set to equalize 1-1.
It was now back to square one for both teams as the game was once again wide open in the third set. However, it appeared as though Toners had now gotten warm and ready to play volleyball against a persistent Chargers side who defended well to keep the ball alive at times.
But Toners resorted to playing simple volleyball and Chargers defenders Latifah Wood and company had one job at the nets and that was to block Ashley Jordan but it definitely wasn’t that easy. Trying to block one of the best female outside hitters in local volleyball was a challenging task for Chargers.
But credit to them for not backing down or giving up against Jordan and Toners’ attacking prowess which also included Ashley Marshall and Janelle Chase-Mayers who were well-fed by the versatile Shennel Pooler.
The ability of the Chargers ladies to get their bodies behind the ball and defend was incredible. They did well to come from behind and equalized 17-17 in the third set but Jordan broke the deadlock for Toners and went on to secure a three-point lead and force the Chargers to call a timeout.
On resumption of play, Dei Padmore did brilliantly to serve her team back into the game as they came from behind and locked the scores once more at 20-20 and put the pressure back on Toners, who held their nerves under pressure to lead 2-1 going into the fourth set.
It was do or die for the Chargers side in the fourth stanza as they needed to re-energize. But instead, they either ran out of steam or just could not handle the pressure. Toners stamped their authority with a 19-8 advantage and had the game wrapped up as Chargers, who accounted for some great blocks in the earlier part of the game, just were unable to defend when it mattered most. [email protected]