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BARBADOS - volleyball - Caribbean Volleyball Championships
Tuesday 29, June-2004 by Barry Alleyne
Compliments of the Nation News
Barbados captain Anthazia Yearwood (left) driving a spike
into the Guadeloupe wall.
“Sharon speaking” the group of female flag-waving fans shouted, to spontaneous laughter by the partisan Barbados crowd in response to another thunderous kill by local volleyball ace Sharon Bovell, and copying the theme of one of Barbados’ most popular cell phone commercials.
And the Barbadian women’s team proved to be quite “populaar” Sunday, as they dismissed Guadeloupe in straight sets to make an impressive start to defending their title in the 10th Caribbean Volleyball Championships (CVC).
But, despite their 25-19, 25-14, 25-21 victory, this squad still has some “issues”, which were brought to the fore by a gutsy Guadeloupe team that lost simply because of the experience factor.
In front of a fair sized crowd, swollen by a number of players from other countries who stuck around after the championships’ opening ceremony, Barbados won without injury, but did suffer some slight cuts and bruises.
For one, the passing by setter Shennel Beckles left plenty to be desired in the first two sets, as she was unable to properly get her best hitters, Bovell, Shari Matthews and Anthazia Yearwood, involved to the extent where it would be pleasing to coach Paul Payne.
To their credit, the Bajans never panicked through their inconsistent performance, with veterans Yearwood, Annette Chapman and libero Angelina Smith settling the troops with their steady play.
Beckles’ setting did improve as the match went on, and every time she came up with a proper pass at the net, either Bovell, Shari Matthews or Yearwood was there to punish the back-court of Guadeloupe.
In fact, Smith, who has been wearing national colours for more than a decade, proved to be Barbados’ best player on the night, moving from back court, side to side and to the bench and back with ease, and adding perfect passing to the setter to highlight her performance.
In the first set, Barbados started well, as a serve ace by Annette Chapman gave them a 3-0 lead, which they stretched to 15-9. But then the complacency started, and suddenly they only led 21-19, forcing Payne to call his first time-out.
It was serious business after that, and a huge kill by Matthews completed the first set.
In the second, the tall and imposing Anicia Wood came to the fore for Barbados, as she came up with two consecutive stuff blocks that saw Barbados race to a 4-1 lead. But Guadeloupe, led by captain Hortense Voutea, and well assisted by Benedicte Mauricette and Yena Bevis, clawed their way back, to only trail 5-8.
Barbados shut the door on them, however, as Beckles’ steady improvement at the setter position allowed them to go ahead 16-9, and eventually win 25-15.
The third set was Guadeloupe’s best, as they won the first six points, but couldn’t keep up the pressure. Two kills by Matthews started the Barbadian comeback, and when the girls in ultramarine and gold caught Guadeloupe to tie the scores 14-14, the writing was on the wall of the gym.
It ended the same way the first set did, with Bovell “speaking” again, with a kill on match point.
Compliments of the Nation News
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