“WE HAD to medal for Best!” That was the mood around the TT Men’s Under-21 volleyball as they secured the crucial bronze medal with a 3-1 victory on Friday at the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Junior tournament held at Rivière-Salée, Martinique.
Elijah Best suffered an avulsion fracture of the tibia in the second set of their opening game of the tournament. The 15-year-old underwent emergency surgery on Wednesday at the hospital in Fort-De-France and is good spirits.
The young guys were on a mission from the start of the match by winning the first set 25-20. The next set was closer as both teams held slim leads until the match was levelled at 20-20. Georlani Austin took the game over by serving three furious aces in succession as his team sealed the deal 25-20 for a two-set advantage.
Moments before the beginning of the third set, Best entered the Gymnasium using crutches accompanied by coach Peer Nasseir along with the team doctor and manager.
His teammates were beaming in confidence as they led throughout the set. Perhaps their eagerness to celebrate the victory clouded their focus to close off the set as they squandered a 19-16 advantage to lose 25-21.
However, the ‘twin-island’ guys didnt repeat the same mistake as they wrapped up the set 25-17 for the 3-1 victory which was TT’s third bronze medal as this level.
Marley Davidson led the scoring for his team once more with 18 points (13 spikes, 5 aces). Jarome Belgrove saved his best performance of the tournament for last with 12 points (8 spikes, 4 blocks) while Austin added 11 points. Guadeloupe’s Damien Leveille was the top scorer in the match with 22 points.
The TT Women’s Under-20 team snatched a 3-2 victory over United States Virgin Islands (USVI) to clinch a spot in the final against Barbados that started at 7.30 pm on Friday.
The TT women won the first set 25-23 but USVI pulled the next one back at 28-26 to equal the scoreline at 1-1. The local girls took the 2-1 advantage after a gruelling 26-24 set victory. The youngsters missed several opportunities to complete the win and the resilient USVI team pounced on the loose ends sending the game into the deciding fifth set after a 25-21 victory.
The ‘Soca Spikers’ held their nerves in a thrilling set to win 15-13 and head into their ninth final at CAZOVA. TT’s captian and leading scorer, Kiune Fletcher filled the scoresheet with a monstrous 37 points.