Sensational volley rallies Jamaica to CAZOVA title
Beach volleyball is up and running after hosts Jamaica rallied to a sensational victory in the final of the CAZOVA Women's Beach Olympic Qualifier at Ocho Rios Bay Beach, St Ann, on Sunday night.
The Jamaica A Team combination of Kai Wright/Danielle Perry downed Ilean Powery and Chante Smith-Johnson of Cayman Islands B 2-0. They scored 21-6 and 21-9, to force the golden set play-off.
In the golden set, victory was nothing short of dramatic and exciting. Jamaica trailed 7-13, but mounted a 9-0 surge, eventually earning victory via well-placed serving from ace Perry.
They won the golden set 15-13, much to the delight of jubilant spectators.
"I can't fully explain what happened, but Danielle and I decided that we needed to do this for the supporters and JAVA (Jamaica Volleyball Association), so we created a new gear, playing harder and smarter one point at a time," Wright recalled.
Earlier, Cayman A's Jessica Wolfenden and Stefania Gandolfi outplayed Alicia Malcolm and Sashalee Wallen of Jamaica B 2-0. They scored 21-18 and 23-21 wins.
Rudolph Speid, president of JAVA, noted that Jamaica's performance and the tournament was spectacular.
"I can't believe they recovered to win that match," Speid exclaimed.
Arnaldo Sanchez, chairman of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Commission, was equally overcome with joy and excitement and congratulated JAVA.
Meanwhile, Steve Owen, referee delegate on the tournament Control Committee, lauded an "amazing tournament".
"That was amazing ... and very befitting of the great tournament that JAVA has organised," Owen outlined of the final.
The top-six positions, following Sunday's championships, are rounded out by Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Suriname, and the US Virgin Islands.
Having passed their first-round test of the NORCECA Continental Cup, Jamaica are now on course for second-round action against teams like St Lucia, Antigua/Barbuda, Martinique, St Kitts/Nevis, Grenada, and Dominica from the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) region.