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Hosts T&T go for double CASOVA gold at Tacarigua

By By Shammi Kowlessar

BOTH teams from the host country will be going for gold against Barbadian opponents today when the curtain falls on the CASOVA (Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association) Youth Championships at Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Tacarigua.

Trinidad and Tobago’s under-18 girls will actually be attempting to complete a hat-trick of titles as they were crowned champions in St Croix last year after winning the only other edition at home in 2007.

Just three countries were involved in the female competition and Barbados and T&T assured themselves of places in the final after both defeated Bahamas in the round-robin phase of the competition.

Fans were treated to a preview after press time last night when the two teams battled in the last round-robin match of the tournament.

A preview of the boys’ final preceded this encounter and T&T will be going for revenge today after they were soundly beaten 25-13, 25-18, 25-12 in just 63 minutes by the Barbadians.

After battling back from two sets down to edge defending champs United States Virgin Islands (USVI) in five sets in the first match on Friday, this country’s under-19 players did the same in the night match as they nosed out Jamaica 21-25, 29-31, 25-22, 25-16, 15-13 in exactly two hours to book their place in the final.

Marlon Phillip, who represented the country in the Youth Olympic beach volleyball qualifying tournament at Maracas Bay last week and still has a chance to make it to Nanjing, China, in August, was again virtually unstoppable.

After scoring 36 points against the USVI, the T&T skipper was even more spectacular as he poured in 47 points, including 40 kills and six aces.

And after beating the Jamaicans in straight sets in the first match of the tournament on Thursday, former champs Barbados brushed aside the USVI 25-17, 25-7, 25-22 the day after to move into the title match.

Today’s action will get going at 11 a.m. with Jamaica opposing the USVI for the bronze medal, the day after beating last year’s champs 25-13, 26-24, 27-25 in the round-robin phase.

T&T, previous double bronze medallists in the tournament, will clash with Barbados for the boys’ gold medal at 3 p.m., two hours before the two countries square off again for the girls’ title.

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