After five blowout losses, TT finally registered their first win in the UANA Youth Water Polo Championships on day three, at the National Aquatic Centre in Balmain, Couva, yesterday.
The national girls fell to their third straight loss against tough Canadian opposition, going under 28-3, but the local boys, after being down all game, willed themselves to their first win in three attempts – a gutsy 14-13 result over Peru.
Defence was critical for the TT boys to stay within striking distance of their South American rivals. TTO were never down by more than four goals and kept their self belief. They made a lot of stops on defence and goalkeepers Zephanaiah Taylor and Dylan Lee had their best games of the tournament, although there was still some indecisiveness on their outlet passes, sometimes taking up most of the shot clock.
The Peruvians scored 12 goals through three quarters but only scored one in the fourth as TTO’s defence tightened up. They started defending further up the pool and with each possession they chipped away at the Peruvian lead with turnovers and fast breaks. Yannick Robertson’s six goals were instrumental in TTO’s comeback efforts, including the equalising goal late in the fourth period. But it was Emerson Latchman’s game-winning goal – and fourth on the day – with less than a minute left in the game that sealed the deal and sparked celebration in the stands. Nathan Hinds, Ricardo Ramdan, and Jonathan Constantine all scored one goal for TTO as well.
The girls continue to struggle defensively against their competition and have conceded more than 25 goals each game so far. They have also failed to click on the offensive end with little to no spacing, stagnant play and indecisiveness. There were times when Canada were daring TTO to shoot but the hosts either missed, got their attempts saved or, for the most part, passed it and ended up turning it over. Tiffany Green and Abeo Valentine scored the only goals for TTO, with Green scoring two and Valentine scoring one.
Defensively, TT have allowed 88 goals, the most in the tournament and 34 more than Peru, who have conceded the second most.
TT will play Peru in the girls’ fourth preliminary game today at 11:40 am. The men will look to make it two wins in a row when they face Colombia at 2 pm.
Other Day 3 Scores:
USA defeated Brazil 22-2
Argentina defeated Peru 14-6
USA defeated Argentina 19-9
Canada defeated Colombia 17-14
Brazil defeated The Bahamas 28-5