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Champs T&T start positive at CAZOVA tourney

Monday, August 13, 2018

T&T made a bold statement in its opening match and quest for a hat-trick of titles at the Men’s CAZOVA (Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association) Championships at the Ismay Van Wilgen Sports Hall in Suriname yesterday.

The three-time champions took 86 minutes to record a 25-22, 25-23, 25-17 triumph over Haiti, in the first game during the morning session programme.

Skipper Ryan Stewart led from the front for T&T with 13 points and Akim Bushe (11) also in double figures on the scoreboard, but the game’s leading scorer was Jean Phillipe Bayou with 15 kills in his 16 points for Haiti.

T&T had the 39-34 edge in spikes and led 10-4 in blocked shots, but were completely dominant (10-1) on serve with Stewart contributing 60 per cent of the points.

And since the defending champs had not even trained at the venue before, the fact that they prevailed in straight sets was an ominous sign for their future opponents – Barbados followed by Suriname and Bahamas the next morning, respectively.

T&T spent most of yesterday recovering from jetlag after their flight arrived very late and coach Sean Morrison pointed out that, “We started slowly and as a result of not getting in a practice session".

The former national player said he was very content with the way his players were able to improve as the match progressed. He said Haiti played very well.

Stewart echoed the sentiments of his former teammate and expects the team to perform at the higher level next time out.

Haiti coach Yves Larrieux stated, “We played well, but made too many mistakes at bad moments.” Their captain Christian Toussaint pointed out that, “it was a learning experience and hopes that it will propel them to win our other two games in the round-robin stage of the tournament".

After this stage ends on Tuesday morning, the top two teams will battle for the title during the night session, following the bronze-medal match.


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