T&T's volleyballers create history
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):
Trinidad & Tobago Women have become the first English-speaking Caribbean volleyball team to book a place at a Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World Championship.
Though they went down to Mexico in a five-set thriller in the NORCECA Group C Women's World Championship qualifier on Sunday, they had already secured a place following strong performances in the preceding matches in the tournament at the National Cycling Centre.
"We've accomplished a lot this year," T&T captain Krystle Esdelle said. "Fighting as we did means we have moved a step further. We used to think about beating Costa Rica as a goal and we have done it in this tournament, and now our goal will be to beat Mexico in the future, but this was an exciting final match."
The Mexicans defeated T&T 25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 22-25, 15-9 in a title match full of exciting and long rallies to clinch their spot to the World Championship for the eighth time.
T&T trailed throughout the first two sets, but they came storming back in the third and fourth sets in a scoring party.
The home team, however, could not sustain the effort and Mexico finally clinched the tie-break set, winning their second consecutive NORCECA qualifier.
"We proved that our team and sport is worth investing in," said T&T head coach Francisco Cruz. "Volleyball is the only sport that qualified to a world championships this year. Funding should come to us.
"Our improvement has been so much with so little support. Imagine what we can accomplish with more money. I am positive we could have won, but we failed with too many serves and some players weren't concentrating enough."
Trinidad & Tobago led in aces 6-5, as the both teams finished with 55 attacks, but they conceded 37 errors and benefited from 33.
Channon Thompson of T&T scored a match high of 24 points on 20 impressive kills, two blocks and two aces; teammate Darlene Ramdin added 15 points, all by kills, and Esdelle scored 12 points.