The Pytonz were crowned Antigua and Barbuda’s best team on Saturday at “Harry’s House” (YMCA) as they took home the Antigua & Barbuda Amateur Volleyball Association’s President’s Cup.
The victory did not come easily, however, as the eventual champion lost the first two sets (23-25) and (23-25) to fellow-finals’ contender Sharks, due to a great defensive stance and key spiking primarily by Shark teammates Esron Gittens and Carl Williams.
Playing for their championship lives, the Pytonz turned it around with some key changes by coach Colin “Mickey” Thomas as he substituted their main setter Barymore Daley with Yashis Auguiste. This move turned the tide of the game towards the Pytons favour as the team showed a much better rhythm, enabling them to grasp control of the game’s momentum.
The team went on to win the next two gritty sets 27-29 and 27-25.
In the fifth and deciding set, age started to show on the side of the Sharks as they had little left in the tank to stem the Pytonz onslaught. They took advantage of their opponent’s obvious fatigue, as they won the final set with a score of 15-12.
The tournament aids the organizers in identifying potential players for the Antigua & Barbuda national team.
Just one week earlier, the females completed their playoff and crowned their President’s Cup champions, Paragons.
The male most improved players for the outgoing 2015 season went to Iterio Jenkins (Stoneville) and to Randy St Jean (High Flyers).
Jessica Quintyne (Samurai Warriors) was named the most improved female player of 2015.
The Association named the Samurai Warriors and the Starz as the most dedicated volunteer teams.
The Most willing non-player assistants award went to Antonio Alexander and Winston Ralph.
Nitsa Thomas was named the most supportive parent.
The Association will now turn its attention towards the NORCECA and Olympic qualifiers that are to be held in St Maarten later this year. A date for the qualifier has yet to be set.
In an effort to grow greater interest in the sport, the volleyball body will be hosting its annual ‘Business League’ tournament starting on September 5, 2015.