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France rolls past ‘Calypso Spikers’

The trinidad Guardian / France completed the four-team line-up for the FIVB Women’s World Championship in Australia later this month when it defeated host T&T 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-20) in a clash of unbeaten teams in Group Three Pool D-3 of the 2017 World Grand Prix at the National Cycling Centre in Balmain, Couva on Saturday night.

With the victory, its second in as many matches, France which won its three matches in Cameroon last week, improved to 5-0 overall to secure a spot along with fellow 5-0 team Hungary and Venezuela (4-1) from Group Three to the finals in Canberra.

T&T, 0-3 finishers in Mexico before winning its home opener over Australia on Friday night, dropped to 1-3. Alexandra Dascalu had the hot hands for France with 16 points, which was laced with 11 spikes and four service aces and captain Juliette Fidon added 15 , also inclusive of 11 spikes, two blocks and two aces.

Dje Marie-France Garreau also chipped in eight, Oriane Amalric five, and the duo of Odette Ndoye and Safiatou Zongo, four each in the contest which lasted 77 minutes.

On the other side of the net, Sinead Jack, the top blocker at the recent 16th Pan American Cup in Peru led the “Calypso Spikers” with 13 points with nine spikes while Channon Thompson, Krystle Esdelle and Darlene Ramdin chipped in with 10, nine and eight points respectively.

Like in their opener, France dominated on spikes, 39-32 and service aces 9-4 while the taller T&T players held the edge on blocks 11-5.

A big improvement for the host was it’s reduction in the amount of errors committed, 22, but it was still seven more than the French. Speaking after the loss, T&T coach Francisco Cruz said he was still satisfied with the effort of his players.

“I am satisfied despite the loss. We know it was going to very difficult for us against a team that competes in one of the toughest confederations, which is Europe.”

He added: “So we are taking each match at this level as a learning curve. Tonight (Saturday) France had a lot of control with their serve and we did not pass the ball very well. So we have to work on our passes.”

According to T&T captain Renele Forde: “France showed they are a very solid team and they played a very smart game of volleyball as well. We needed to adjust as a team to their tactics faster than we did and in the end it cost us.”

Earlier on Saturday, Cameroon captain Christelle Tchoudjang Nana led all scorers with 19 points as the African nation got its first win, via a come-from-behind 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25-15 ,25-19) win over Australia.

With a 1-1 record, Cameroon faced host country T&T last night (Sunday) in the final match while Australia, without a win after two matches came up against France.

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