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TT women volleyball team stun Australia

News day / Australia went “Down Under” to the delight of the local supporters who left the playing arena with smiles on their faces, saying that it was the best performance of the team they ever witnessed. The ‘Soca Spikers’ started slowly and in a quick space of time they found themselves 1-0 down, losing the first set 25-16.

The game changer was the improvement of the serving and blocking by TT, as well as more attacks through the middle.

With the second set tied at 6-6, Channon Thompson recorded several aces to give the home team an 11-6 lead which they kept straight to the end to win at 25-18 to tie the match 1-1. The third set was the most competitive as neither team had a substantial lead and it was literally end to end action. The point of the match came when the score was 22-22 and Thompson ended a series of rallies with a bullet of a spike down the centre. The game eventually went to deuce with TT winning 26-24 for the 2-1 advantage.

Building on the momentum from the previous set, the host team started the fourth set aggressively and copped a 4-0 lead through great deviating serves from Krystle Esdelle. Then at 7-3, captain Renele Forde had her chance to bamboozle the opponents with her tricky serves as they extended the lead to 12- 4. There was no turning back for the local women as they completed the historical victory at 25-17 to win 3-1.

Krystle Esdelle led the way with 18 points inclusive of 13 spikes and three aces. For the Aussies, Rachel Rourke was the best scorer in the match with 21 points (17 spikes).

Speaking after the match, a pleased Forde said, “We are super excited to have had a better game coming out of Mexico because we decided to come home and utilise the home court advantage.

We would like to thank the supporters that came; we really needed a lot more for us to beat this team 3-1 especially if you compare the resources available. So I’m hoping persons realise our efforts and continue to support us, especially financially to press on from here.” TT’s coach Francisco Cruz of Cuba explained how hard his team worked for the victory.

“There is big difference in level and our players need to work harder. The difference is the players need more games for preparation. We went to the Mexico (leg) with no warm-up games compared to other teams who played at least 55 matches.

Also, they have seven or eight persons in their staff, whereas we only have two staff members.” A disappointed Australian coach Shannon Winzer, stated, “We didn’t play well, our first contact really suffered which made it hard for us to get rhythm on the offence and TT blocked really well, we were predictable in offence. So (Friday) wasn’t a good (one) but in all fairness TT played much better than last Sunday.” Australia captain, Beth Carey added, “TT upped their service game and blocked well.

Once my team doesn’t have a good passing game, it always is tough for us to win.” In the other match, Cameroon had at least a four-point lead in all of the sets but failed to capitalise, losing to France 3-0 (25- 21, 25-22, 25-23). Cameroonian Simone Bikatal led the scoring with 17 points while Juliette Fidon had 12 points for France.

The next match for TT will be today at 8pm vs Cameroon following the Australia and France clash at 5.30pm.

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