Bahamas downs Martinique to stay perfect  


WILLEMSTED, CURACAO, December 2:  Bahamas lived up to their pre-tournament billing as favourites when they swept past Martinique in straight sets to top the preliminary round in the four-team NORCECA Group A 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship qualifiers at the International School of Curacao,Willemsted, on Sunday morning.


Leading the way for the Bahamians, recent winners of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Championship in US Virgin Islands, St Croix,  were the trio of Renaldo Knowles, captain, Prince’tanique Wilson and Byron Ferguson with 13, 11 and 11 points respectively.


Already assured of a place in the finals by winning their first two matches over Jamaica (3-0)  and host Curacao (3-1), Bahamas playing a high level of confidence and composure won 25-16, 27-25, 25-16 in 67 minutes.


The CAZOVA champions was also dominant in spikes, 36-25 while they had a slight edge on blocks 8-7 thanks to Ferguson (B) with four and Endierich Rahming (two) while both teams were even on service aces, five apiece.


Edouard Lowinsky was the lone player for Martinique to reach double-figures with 12 points while captain David Lefaivre and Aymeric Christine got seven points as their team failed to deliver in a must-win match and will now need to win the bronze medal contest between the loser of the Curacao/Jamaica contest to reach the second round of qualifiers next year. 


With the win, Bahamas ended the four-team round-robin staged with 14 points from a possible 15,


Ten points clear of Curacao and Jamaica which faced off in the final round-robin encounter on Sunday morning.


Martinique ended bottom of the table with three points ahead of Sunday’s bronze medal match with the loser of the Jamaica/Curacao encounter. 


Speaking after the match, Lefaivre said his team used the match against the Bahamians to work on their cohesion as they know they will have to put in a great effort in the bronze medal to qualify as one of the top three teams to the next round.


Prince’tanique, captain of the Bahamian squad was pleased his players stayed with the game plan and maintained its winning form.


“We have been playing pretty good so far in the tournament and we just need to keep executing well and stick to the game plan if we want to win the gold medal, which is our main objective. “ 


Erialc Eddy, coach of the Martinique team said his team had already shifted focus to the bronze medal match in the afternoon and he took a decision to rest some of his better players.


However, he noted he was still pleased with the effort of the players and hopes it continues in their final match.


Raymond Wilson, coach of Bahamas and Prince’tanique’s dad was quick to admit that he was pretty much satisfied with the progress of his team.


“The team has performed much better as the matches have gone on and I expect that by time we play the final we will be at our peak and put on a great performance.


On Sunday after, the top two teams at the end of the preliminary round will contest the gold medal match from 8pm while two hours earlier, the other two teams in the group vie for the all important bronze medal, at the end of which, the top three teams will advance to the second round of qualifiers which begin next year.