Antigua and Barbuda’s qualifying run ends

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By Carlena Knight

Antigua and Barbuda’s chances of qualifying for the 2020 NORCECA Championships were crushed on Saturday night as the Under-21 male volleyball team went under 3-1 in sets to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the semi-finals.

Playing at the YMCA Volleyball Indoor facility in the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA), the home team were looking to gain revenge on the Vincentians who beat them a day earlier in straight sets in the preliminary round.

That dream, however, was dented as the power of the Windward Island team was just too much for Antigua and Barbuda.

After winning the first set, the home team found it difficult to close down St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ offense, but at the same time committed far too many errors.

The scoreboard showed 48 errors (including seven rotational faults) contributed to the SVG scoreboard. They in turn benefitted from 37.

Ironically, it was two unforced errors that led to their final demise. At that point several players broke down and cried.

The 17-25, 25-16, 25-18, 26-24 victory saw Outside Hitter Kyle Liverpool lead the victors with 15 points while captain and setter for the team, Jamaar Cropper, had 10 points.

Enrico Louraine, another Outside Hitter, also contributed with eight points.

Coach Vance Andrews pointed to his Outside Hitters as one of the keys to victory.

“After a bad start we took some time to get into an attacking rhythm. I must compliment my setter who was key to getting the outside hitters and the attack going. They, too, ought to be complimented as they scored when we really needed it. The crowd was not a factor, really, as we were able to ignore them and play above the noise,” he said.

Captain for the home team and middle blocker Tejani Harvey was the leading scorer with 16 points while outside hitter Miguel Bourne had 11.

Coach Olsen Joseph was downhearted “I think my players cried as they realize now that we could have won had they stuck more rigorously to the plan. We made some adjustments and it worked for a while but I must compliment St. Vincent as they maintained the composure and executed a very good game overall,” he reported.

With that loss, Antigua and Barbuda played against St. Kitts and Nevis last evening (Sunday) for the third-place medal, while St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines battled for the top honors.

St. Lucia advanced to the finals after beating St. Kitts and Nevis in straight sets 25-11, 25-18, 25-5.

The results of those two encounters could not be obtained before press time.

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