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Bahamas advance in ‘Worlds’ qualifier

GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands, November 13, 2016 - Bahamas outclassed Bonaire 25-16, 25-10, 25-11 to secure the second and final qualifying spot from Group C into the second round of the CAZOVA qualifying series for the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Volleyball Championship here at Clifton Hunter High School.

Bonaire were only in contention until they took advantage of a sluggish start by their opponents to sprint to an 8-3 lead.

However it was a completely different story after the technical time-out and the Bahamians went on to win 22 of the last 30 points to draw first blood.

With the second set tied at five, the seventh-ranked team in CAZOVA (Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association) won eight points in a row and then five straight after Brittany Bonamy spiked into the net.

Bahamas won the first seven points of the third and their 11th-ranked opponents, who also needed to win the fixture to qualify, were never able to get within striking distance.

Melinda Bastian led the way for the winners with 18 points and was able assisted by Bonamy (11) and skipper Kelsie Johnson (ten) in the 54-minute contest.

Bahamas had whipped Cayman Islands in straight sets in the morning session and Johnson believes that “we would have ended up with the gold medal if we played Guadeloupe in the third game instead of the first.”

Guadeloupe, ranked one place higher than Bahamas in CAZOVA, defeated Bahamas in straight sets in the battle of the two highest rated teams in the first match of the tournament yesterday.

Although Bahamas failed to convert two sets points at 24-22 in the third set of that contest, coach Jason Saunders believes the fans “were able to see what his team was capable” after that set.

Both captain Claudette van Arneman and coach Leo Richardson of outsiders Bonaire stated that they were proud that their team never gave up and was able to win a match (against Cayman Islands) in the tournament.

Guadeloupe, assured of capturing the gold medal even before they faced Cayman Islands in the final match of the round-robin competition, will join Bahamas in the second round in Jamaica in July.

Including defending champions United States, seven countries from the NORCECA region will compete in the next World Championships in Japan.