Defending men’s champions Barbados opened their campaign with a win against Trinidad and Tobago [T&T] at the 10th Caribbean Junior Volleyball Championship held last night at the Wildey Gymnasium.
The home side was clearly the better of the two teams, as they trounced their main rivals in straight sets 25-20, 25-12, 25-18 to the delight of home fans.
Barbados captain Andriy Stapleton (right) evades the Trinidadian blocks with this spike. (Picture by Morissa Lindsay)
Led by talented captain Andriy Stapleton, Barbados’ lineup included vice-captain Adam Niles, Carlos Cyrus, Atiba Best, Shamar Bishop, Akeem Mayers and Paul Doughty.
From the very first point of the match Stapleton and Bishop brought the Gymnasium to their feet with a thunderous block on T&T’s Marlon Philip to deny him at the net.
With the scores locked at 3-3, Martin DeVaughn’s wayward serve gave Barbados a lead they would not relinquish as they led 8-5 at the first technical time out 8-5 and 16-13 at the second.
Some good work at the net by Cyrus and Best helped to deny several of T&T’s attacks, while Stapleton, who had 11 spikes from 21 attempts, created constant headaches for the visitors on attack.
Trinidad did manage a few points in between, thanks to some lovely defensive set pieces by 13-year-old libero Marley Davidson to Philip, Adriel Roberts, Tyrzque Beckles and Nathanael Noreiga, but the dominant Barbados side was always ahead of the game.
Stapleton then closed out the opening set in spectacular fashion, blasting three unstoppable spikes past T&T’s helpless defense to give his team a 1-0 lead.
Barbados then took control of the second set by transforming a close 6-6 scoreline into a commanding 16-9 lead.
The visitors even had the perfect opportunity to take the lead, but once Bishop committed an unforced error, the home side took full advantage to seize the momentum.
Some more good play from Best and Cyrus, allowed the Bajan men to close out the second set and win by 13 points.
In the third set Trinidad showed some fight, but the local men were on a high with confidence and had everything going in their favour.
At 22-17, Niles’ spike inched Barbados closer to victory, but Mayers’ serve into the nets gave Trinidad an advantage they failed to capitalize on.
Mayers however, redeemed himself with
a well-placed spike and Cyrus found an opening which he duly took advantage off to finish the game off in style.
Barbados’ coach John Stuart said he
was happy with his team’s performance. However, he said going forward they intended to cut out as many unforced
errors as possible.
“The guys played well and I could not ask for anything more. Trinidad played well but Barbados had a bit more power. All we need to do now is block more, because the guys in [the] front court made too many unforced errors,” Stuart said.