T&T reach NORCECA knockout
TRINIDAD and Tobago reached the knockout phase of a senior NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) volleyball tournament for the very first time on Tuesday night.
The five-time Caribbean champions nosed out Costa Rica 25-14, 22-25, 21-25, 27-25, 15-13 in their opening match of the Women’s Continental Championships in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, to be assured of at least a place in the quarter-finals.
There are three teams in each group and all the runners-up will be competing in tonight’s quarters.
T&T should be one of them as they were not expected to threaten Dominican Republic when the round-robin group phase of the tournament concluded yesterday. Costa Rica are out of contention as they were beaten 25-13, 25-6, 25-20 by Group A favourites Dominican Republic in the first match of the tournament on Monday.
The two group winners with the best points ratio will move straight into tomorrow night’s semi-finals, while the winners of the other group and the runners-up will be involved in the quarters.
In Group B action, Mexico were defeated 25-9, 25-12, 25-11 by United States on Monday night, but bounced back Tuesday night to nose out six-time champs Cuba 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 18-16.
St Lucia, the only unranked team in the tournament, were outclassed 25-9, 25-15, 25-12 by Puerto Rico on Monday night and 25-14, 25-9, 25-14 by Canada on Tuesday night.
Channon Thompson, the Most Valuable Player when T&T won the gold medal a few months ago to advance to the penultimate round of NORCECA qualifying for next year’s World Championships in Italy, led the way with 21 points on Tuesday night. Darlene Ramdin was also in spectacular form as the France-based former national youth skipper notched 20 points during the nail-biting 206-minute encounter. And Thompson’s fellow Poland-based players Sinead Jack and captain Krystle Esdelle chipped in with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
The final is scheduled for Saturday night and the winners will qualify for the Grand Champion Cup in Japan in November.