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Curacao basks after ending long wait for revenge


KINGSTON, Jamaica, July 26, 2017 - Curacao ended their everlasting wait to exact revenge on fellow Dutch-speaking Caribbean rivals, Suriname, claiming a narrow 3-2 victory after an arduous, see-saw Group E preliminary round match, on the opening day of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) 2017 World Championship Qualifying Second Round competition on Wednesday afternoon.


The winners’ joy was evident with broad grins, hugs and handshakes aplenty after their tense 23-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-19, 15-11 five-setter on Wednesday evening inside the National Indoor Sports Centre, Independence Park Complex, host venue for the tournament that also doubles as the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Women’s Championship.


“I feel very relieved and happy because it’s been a long, long time since we’ve beaten Suriname,” expressed an overjoyed Rigolette Thode, head coach of Curacao.


Thode added: “The last time we played them was seven years ago and they beat us, so it’s been a relief that we’ve beaten them finally and I hope we will keep on going.”


Overseas-based professionals Anthony Christine, the team’s captain and Luis Samira, shouldered their team’s burden admirably to lead a comeback win, having trailed 1-2 after the first three sets.


Samira blasted 19 kills in 23 points and Christine 20, all spikes, while Muerlens Sherdelys (13) and Bokshoven Vyrvienne (10) also numbered among Curacao’s leading scorers.


“I think the first win is always very important, so we can continue in the tournament more relaxed, looking definitely to get to the quarter-finals or the semi-finals,” said Christine. “I’m happy with my performance. I think I did better than I expected of myself.


“But overall I like how the team played, how we didn’t give up as we were behind in sets, so I’m happy. I think we had the better defence than Suriname and at the end we could control our serves much better than them,” she added.


Sandrina Hunsley, captain of the Surinamese team, played her heart out for a match-high 28 points, 27 of them kills.  She got decent support from Kame Sigourney and Bouterse Cabriella, who each palmed nine points.


“It was a game with ups and downs from both sides. Both of us didn’t start good in the first set, so I felt very happy that even though we didn’t play the first set good we won. But after that Curacao got very good in the match and we didn’t get that good,” analysed HUnsley. “Sometimes we had ups, but we didn’t rise to our best form in the match.”


Her coach, Eric Aikman, thought Suriname were unlucky.


“I’m not so happy with the outcome, but it was a good match. Both teams played on a good level; Curacao had a little bit more luck than Suriname in this game,” observed Aikman.


He added: “It’s not a setback because the system gives us plenty of chances to go forward so we have to take those chances.”


Eight teams are participating and the highest ranked in the 2017 CAZOVA Women’s Championship, along with already-qualified Trinidad and Tobago, will advance to the Third Round of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) World Championship Qualifiers.


The Trinidadians, who are the defending champions of CAZOVA, will host one of the World Championship Qualifying groups.