Sunday, April 14, 2024

Bajans bring home volleyball trophies

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THE LOUD cheering of family, friends and supporters greeted the victorious Barbados youth teams when they returned from the Caribbean Youth Championships in Trinidad and Tobago on Monday night.
The boys played unbeaten throughout the tournament without dropping a set, with captain Andriy Stapleton dominating with the Most Valuable Player title, Best Digger, Best Server and Best Spiker awards as Barbados repeated their preliminary win over the hosts 25-20, 25-14, 25-15.  
The girls defeated Trinidad in the preliminaries but failed to repeat in the final, losing 14-25, 15-25, 26-24, 19-25.
An ugly scene unfolded during the girls’ final when one of Trinidad’s senior male player grabbed the trophy and the microphone and ran through the stands shouting that the trophy belonged to Trinidad and was not leaving their shores.
Newly appointed coach Patrick Oxley said he had prepared his players for the overwhelming support that would be given to the home team but he was concerned that such behaviour was permitted, particularly during a youth tournament.
“The girls were a bit tense from the semi-finals and in the finals they did not play at their full ability. I believe the crowd affected them but I am confident that the skills, age and intelligence level of this group of girls promise a bright future for our women’s volleyball,” said Oxley.
Both Oxley and boys’ coach John Stuart praised the Barbados Volleyball Association’s strategy of placing the boys on a specific team and also allowing them to turn out for chosen Division One teams.
“Playing more high-level volleyball has benefited the boys. We have been blessed over the years in getting some very intelligent volleyballers who have served our sport well and I expect that to continue with this group,” said Stuart.
Oxley expressed the hope that a similar set-up would be established for the girls as he and Stuart pointed out the benefits of the players developing alongside the better and more experienced players in Division One.
Christ Church Foundation student Stapleton said he was happy with his and his team’s success while pointing to the support of his teammates in achieving the gold. Stapleton was also a key player on the Barbados Junior team that captured that title in Guadeloupe earlier this year.
The talented Stapleton, who is good enough to command a spot on Division One champion team Coverley Medical Centre Deacons, will chalk up plenty of frequent flyer miles next year as Barbados have gained automatic tickets to the NORCECA?Juniors and Youth tournaments next year in Mexico and the United States, respectively.

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