Jamaica go in hunt of history
Island’s women take on T&T in Caribbean volleyball championship final
ON THE brink of Jamaica’s first title, national senior women’s volleyball coach Ricardo Chong is hoping to complete an unbeaten run to glory when they contest the final of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Senior Caribbean Championship in Suriname today.
The Jamaicans will take on Trinidad and Tobago at 2 p.m., looking for their first championship in their history, while Trinidad and Tobago are gunning for their eighth title.
Jamaica have been imperious in their title run, going unbeaten, emphasised by their straight-set victory over Barbados in the semi-finals.
It will be the second time that the two islands will meet in the tournament after Jamaica handed Trinidad their first loss in the preliminary rounds last Wednesday in a five-set thriller. After their semi-final win against Barbados, Chong said that having played Trinidad before provides a level of familiarity with what to expect.
“We set the small goal to reach the final, and the ultimate goal is to win the final,” Chong said on Friday.
“We have a lot of rest and looking forward to doing some training to get ready for the final. We already played Trinidad. I do not mind who we will meet but it will be a great final.”
It was a meeting that captain Sashalee Thomas foreshadowed in the euphoria of that preliminary round win over Trinidad on Wednesday, saying she wanted to win for Chong.
“This has been years in the making. It’s been a struggle and he’s been there since the beginning. And I am happy we were able to pull the win for him. Going forward, we have to do this again because we might meet them in the final.”
With the prospect of winning the title in their first final appearance, Thomas is anxious to complete a flawless run that would highlight their hard work.
“Our goal was to reach the final, one step at a time. And now we want to be an undefeated champion,” Thomas said.
Meanwhile, the Jamaican men finished fifth, defeating Martinique in straight sets 25-22, 25-18, 25-21.
Despite not getting as far as they wanted, men’s coach Gatasheu Bonner hopes to use the tournament as a springboard to elevate the talent level in the country.
“We try to teach our team that every game matters and, hopefully, we’ll show up to be the team we want to be. This tournament will be a lesson to move forward with volleyball in Jamaica,” Bonner said.