Barbados blanks Honduras for finals spot, qualify for Third Round


ST AUGUSTINE, Trinidad, May 26, 2013: The experienced trio of Shari Matthews, Julia Lewis and  Anicia Wood all had solid outings as Barbados blanked Honduras 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-17) in their must-win  final round-robin match of  the NORCECA Women’s Second Round  Group I qualifiers to reach the tournament gold medal match against host T&T on Sunday night.


More importantly for Barbados, the win at the University of the West Indies Sports and Physical Educational Centre, St Augustine which was accomplished in 69 minutes ensured a top two finish in the four-team round-robin pool with a 2-1 record and ten points, to advance to the Third Round of NORCECA qualification to the 2014 FIVB World Championship in Italy.


Going into the match, both 13th ranked Barbados and  Honduras, ranked five places lower,  were  in contention to get to the final, as both had 1-1, while host  T&T, ranked seventh, ended with a 3-0 record and maximum 15 points to earn top spot and qualification as well. Anguilla, the other team in the group ended without a point and a 0-3 record.


Matthews, who plays professionally in Serbia ended with a match high 15 points, all kills while Lewis, the longest serving member of the team got 11, inclusive of nine kills, and Spain-based Wood and Rhe-Ann Niles, eight points each.


De-Ann Smith also chipped in with six points off the bench for the victorious Barbadians, who outscored their opponents in two critical components of the match, 37-27 on spikes and 5-3 on blocks, while both teams were evenly matches on service aces, 3-3.


Speaking after the loss, a  visibly dejected Tessa Michelle Flores, captain of Honduras, said her team started with a lot of confidence to win the match, but it all came to nothing as they did not pass and serve well, which is key to victory.


An elated Matthews stated that her team wanted to be more aggressive from the start and try to improve on their passing and they were able to do that.


“From our first match to this point we have gotten better and are very happy to get to the final and qualify for the next round. We are now hoping to have our best match in the final and probably get the win against T&T,” ended Matthews.


Marvin Ulloa, coach of Honduras was quick to point out that his team did not play anything  to have a chance to win.


“We were too anxious, while Barbados was much more secure and composed in their approach.”


Andrew Brathwaite, coach of the Barbadians was delighted that his team did a good job in executing their game plan.


“From our scouting we knew their strength and weaknesses and I must credit our players for sticking to our plan. At times we let them back into the match, but from 20 points onwards we showed  a lot of control.


Brathwaite also credited Honduras for their great defensive work and their attitude towards playing every point with a lot of fight.


Looking ahead to the final, Brathwaite said his team has built up quite well from its first match and is keenly looking  forward to facing T&T in the final, with the hope of avenging the opening day straight sets loss.


The final between T&T and Barbados who have won a combined 11 Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association women’s titles will take place at 8pm on Sunday night, two hours after Honduras and Anguilla meet for third, with the winner still having a chance at qualification to the next round on the road to Italy.


However, it will only do so, as the top ranked third placed team from the six Second Round groups on  January 1, 2014.