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Young spikes T&T U-18s to seventh spot

Monday, June 30, 2014
Members of the T&T Under-18 women’s volleyball team and technical staff pose for a team photo prior to one of their matches at the NORCECA Continental Championship being staged at the National Gymnasium, San Jose , Costa Rica. T&T ended seventh in the nine-team event after beating Honduras 25-23, 26-24, 25-15 on Saturday. In photo from back-row left are Peer Nasseir (National Teams Delegate), Kamla Elcock (manager), Nekeisa Blackman, Jahhalcyon Drayton, Reann Young (captain), Kaylon Cruickshank, Macsood Ali (coach), Destiny Leon, Aaliyah Alexis, Jordyn Ali and Saleem Ali (assistant coach). Front-row kneeling from left, Shakeema Lake, Johanna Belmar, Alexandrea Jones, Sara Low and Nicolette De Mille.

Team captain, Reann Young led from the front with a match high 19 points, inclusive of 16 kills and two service aces, as T&T’s Calypso Spikers overcame Honduras 25-23, 26-24, 25-15 in 71 minutes to finish seventh at the Girls’ Under-18 NORCECA Continental Championship in Costa Rica on Saturday night.


Playing in the first of three matches on the penultimate day of competition at the National Gymnasium in San Jose, T&T, the three-time reigning Caribbean Under-18 champions, earned their first victory to finish with a 1-2 win-loss record while the Central American had a 1-3 mark.


In addition to Young, the lanky Kaylon Cruickshank added with 16 points, 11 of which were spikes and four blocks while Destiny Leon added ten, also with our blocks and three service aces. 


Of the their three matches it was the best showing by the Macsood Ali-coached T&T women who were the superior team despite their disadvantage in errors of 36-27, to add to their 33 against host Costa Rica and 39 versus Guatemala in Pool A round-robin play. 


Overall, T&T dominated Honduras in spikes by 32-17, in the blocking by 10-4 and in services points by 7-5.


Commenting on the win, Ali said his team made a few adjustments following matches in the group stage and it worked in their favour.


He explained, “We knew Honduras plays similar as Guatemala and Costa Rica who we faced in the pool play round so we worked in making adjustments in our first passing and defense. It was a good match for the girls and Honduras performed well”.


Coach Catarina Lizeth of Honduras said they paid the consequences of their own mistakes “my girls lacked concentration, their defense was poor, the second set slipped out of our hands and it’s not the result I expected.” 


On Friday, the Hondurans advanced to play T&T, after trouncing Eastern Caribbean champions St Lucia 25-13, 25-13, 25-22 in their ninth place playoff. 


Also on Saturday, seven-time champions and reigning six-time title holders USA outclassed Puerto Rico 25-17, 25-21, 25-17 in their semifinal to book the first of three tickets granted for the 2015 Girls’ U-18 FIVB World Championship.


Last night in the finals, the Americans came up Dominican Republic which dominated Mexico 25-19, 25-21, 25-14 in the other semifinal and also earned a ticket to the 2015 Girls’ U-18 FIVB World Championship.


The meeting between USA and Dominican Republic was the fourth meeting between both teams in tournament finals, with the USA coming out on top in all three previous finals in 2002, 2006 and 2012.


Puerto Rico and Mexico, both of whom have ended third on tow occasions before faced off for third spot and the all important final ticket to the FIVB World Championship in the other match last night.


This after Guatemala and Costa Rica faced off for fifth spot.


In Friday’s quarterfinals, Mexico swept past Costa Rica 25-11, 25-15, 25-13 and Puerto Rico humbled Guatemala Guatemala 25-13, 25-19, 25-19.


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