Bahamas battles past Curacao for Pool A gold


WILLEMSTED, CURACAO, December 2: Bahamas overcame another stubborn display from host Curacao to take the gold medal in Group A of the NORCECA 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship qualifiers at the International School of Curacao, Willemsted, on Sunday night.


Leading the way for the Bahamians, winners of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association Championship in US Virgin Islands, St Croix in July, Byron Ferguson had a team-high 18 points, which included seven blocks, while Renaldo Knowles gathered 14 and team captain, Prince’tanique Wilson, 13, in the 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-21 victory in one hour, 38 minutes.


For Curacao which dominated on spikes, 53-43 and service aces, 5-4, Darwin Colina had a match-high, 25 points, punctuated by 21 kills, while Raygid Isenia got 15 and veteran outside hitter, Poulina Gilbert, nine.


Commenting on the loss, Curacao skipper, Ebram Raphael said his team had a good start, however they allowed Bahamas to get to far ahead in the other sets and found it difficult to close the gap.


Despite losing the gold medal match, Raphael said he was still happy with the effort of his team as it attained what it set out to do which was to qualify for the second round of the tournament.


A man of few words, Bahamian captain Wilson said it was a great win for his team as they accomplished the goal set out at the start of the tournament.


Wilson also praised Curacao for being great rivals but felt his team had the experience and composure to turn it up another level when they needed too.


Curacao coach, Hubert Petronia, first praised his team for playing a great game but also lamented that his team needed to reproduce the same effort as it did against Jamaica in their final round-robin match to have a chance.


“But credit must also go to Bahamas, they played a great match and deserved to win and as a team we are satisfied that we achieve our goal. We have many young players and as we go forward to the next round we will like to give the younger players a chance to prove themselves.”


Raymond Wilson, coach of Bahamas and Prince’tanique's dad while happy that his team had won gold was already looking ahead to the next round and said the win proved also that the victory at the CAZOVA Championship was no fluke.


‘In this tournament, our goal as team Bahamas is to go as far as we cane in each round and matches like these against Curacao who came out on a high can only improve your level of play which is good.


With both teams having qualified for the second round by reaching the final, all that was left to be determined was the pool allocation to the second round where Bahamas, the winner of A-1 joins French St Martin (Group D runner-up), Barbados (Group E runner-up) and Nicaragua (Group H third placed finisher) in their second round Pool I qualifiers while the Group A runner-up, Curacao tackles Antigua & Barbuda (Group D winner), Costa Rica (Group H runner-up) and Aruba (Group E third placed finisher) in their second round Pool L qualifiers