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France whip TT women volleyballers at World Grand Prix

News day / France booked a spot in the World Grand Prix, Group Three Final to be held in Canberra, Australia from July 22-23 as they top the standings after being unbeaten in five matches in the competition.

The captain of the French team, Juliette Fidon, was delighted upon reaching this milestone.

She said, “I think we can be proud of qualifying for the Grand Prix Final because this is the first time we are in this competition. We just need to keep going.” France’s coach Andre Felix commented, “(On Saturday) we are happy, the team played like what we expected with more concentration and aggressiveness.” The “Soca Spikers” had difficulties adjusting to the pace of the French serves throughout the entire match especially in the opening set which allowed the visiting team to win at 25- 20. They continued to outsmart the TT defence with a myriad of variations in speed and placement in their spiking. For the match, TT amassed 22 unforced errors which was almost one third of their opponents` total.

TT coach Francisco Cruz tried every trick in the book to counteract the dominance of his opponents by making changes including 17-year-old setter Nya Steele and rotated the lineup but it was all futile.

Down 24-18 in the second set, Darlene Ramdin had a late fightback with her tricky serves as they registered four more points but eventually lost 25-22.

The local women started positively in the third set with improved movements and passing.

They had a glimmer of hope of copping a set but they stumbled at the 17-point mark to lose at 25-20. Silvana Dascalu scored a match-high 16 points, including four aces. Also contributing was Fidon with 15 points. Sinead Jack was the topscorer for Trinidad and Tobago with 13 points including nine spikes and three blocks.

Cruz said, “I am satisfied because we know this game would be very difficult, France (play) in Europe which is zone for the volleyball.

We take experience from the Grand Prix for the qualification.

We will definitely have to work more on our passing.” Captain Renele Forde commended her opponents, saying, “Congratulations to France.

They are a very solid team and they played a very smart game of volleyball. As a team, we needed to adjust to their tactics faster than we did and in the end it cost us.” In the earlier game of Saturday’s double-header, Cameroon came from a set down to defeat Australia 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25- 15, 25-19). Cameroon`s skipper Christelle Tchoudjang Nana lead the match with 19 points whilst Australian Rachel Rourke had 18 points.

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