ST CROIX, US Virgin Islands (CMC):
Jamaica booked a spot in the semi-finals of the 14th senior Women's Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association Championship, despite crashing to a five-set loss at the hands of hosts US Virgin Islands here on Thursday night.
Playing at the Richard Charles Gymnasium, Jamaica tumbled to a 20-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-18, 13-15 defeat in just under two hours to a fired up USVI, but still topped Group B with seven points.
Trinidad and Tobago joined them in the semi-finals when they humbled Barbados in straight sets, 25-17, 25-15, 25-22 in a shade over an hour.
The USVI finished second in the three-team group along with The Bahamas, but with a better points ratio.
Despite advancing to the final four, Jamaica captain Shedelky Hamilton-Barnes lamented her side's inconsistency.
"Our game was too up and down and in the fifth set we started off too rocky," said Hamilton-Barnes.
"While it was not our best performance I must commend our blockers for keeping us in the match, but our poor serving cost us in the end."
Hamilton-Barnes led her team with 16 points, while Sasha-Lee Wallen got 14 and Makini Thompson 13. Lecia Brown finished with 12 points.
For the USVI, Valissia Brathwaite racked up a tournament-high 29 points, while captain Sacha Gumbs tallied 19, Janelle Sarauw 15 and Danielle Selkridge 11.
Jamaica's coach Gatasheu Bonner said her side needed to improve in preparation for today's semi-final.
"They came at us very hard early on and our passing game did not respond. Going forward, we will need to fix that problem and work at our consistency as well," he pointed out.
"As usual, our girls played with a lot of fighting spirit, but unfortunately we were coming from behind most of the times, losing a lot of energy and in the end we could not finish strong."
T&T, meanwhile, were irrepressible as they stormed to a convincing victory over the former queens of regional volleyball.
Captain Krystle Esdelle led with 13 points, while the big-hitting Kelly-Anne Billingy counted 12 points. Shari Matthews led Barbados with 10 points.
"We still made too many errors as a team, but credit to Barbados also for a good competitive match," Esdelle contended.
Barbados' coach Andrew Brathwaite said he hoped his players could still reach the championship match despite the loss.
"T&T has the best women's team in the region and it's always good for Barbados to play against T&T because both teams have fought so many battles over the years," Brathwaite said.
"We did not enjoy the best of the first two sets, but as a coach I am heartened by the players' effort in the third set and, hopefully, we can rebound from this and get to the final."
In last night's quarter-finals, Barbados met The Bahamas in the first game while the USVI faced Guadeloupe in the feature matchup.