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Costa Rica whip T&T in NORCECA opener

By Shammi Kowlessar

TRINIDAD and Tobago failed to take advantage of a significant early lead and were beaten in straight sets by the hosts when the NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) Under-18 Female Volleyball Championship serves off Tuesday in Costa Rica.
After taking 12 of the first 17 points, the three-time defending Caribbean champions could only muster nine of the other 29 points in the set and never recovered afterwards as the Costa Ricans eventually prevailed 25-21, 25-15, 25-14.
The main positive for the T&T team in the 68-minute contest was that skipper Reann Young and Kaylon Cruickshank were the leading scorers with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
They also had the advantage in service points (9-6), but committed 33 errors as compared with just ten by the Costa Ricans, who had the edge 29-26 in successful attacks and 7-5 in blocked shots.
After tackling Guatemala yesterday, T&T will be on a bye when the round-robin group phase of the tournament concludes tonight.
The two group winners with the best ratio will move straight into Saturday night’s semi-finals, while the winner of the other group and the three runners-up will contest quarterfinals the night before. The champions will be crowned on Sunday night.
The US has dominated to such an extent that they have captured the gold medal in seven of the eight editions of the biennial tournament. Their only defeat came two years after the inaugural edition when Puerto Rico stunned them in the 2000 final.
With Dominica on a bye, Puerto Rico crushed St Lucia 25-6, 25-8, 25-5 in Group C, while six-time defending champs US brushed aside Honduras 25-8, 25-9, 25-8 with Mexico resting in Group B.
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