Curacao sweeps past Jamaica to reach final 


WILLEMSTED, CURACAO, December 2:  Darwin Colina topscored for the second time in three matches as host, Curacao defeated Jamaica in straight sets (3-0) to secure second spot at the end of the preliminary round in the four-team NORCECA Group A 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship qualifiers.


This was in the final round-robin match at the International School of Curacao on Sunday morning.


Colina amassed 18 points, while veteran Gilbert Poulina added 14, and captain, Ebram Raphael nine for the host to come away with a 25-15, 25-22, 25-22  triumph in the winner-take-all contest in 66 minutes.


Curacao now sets up  a gold medal clash with pre-tournament favourites, Bahamas which topped the pool with three wins from as many matches and 14 points from a possible 15.


For the Jamaicans, who were guilty of making a number of errors, Conaradio Taylor was the lone scorer in double-figures with 11 points, while Delford Morgan contributed eight and captain Dellan Brown, seven in the loss.


Going into the encounter, both teams had a 1-1 record of wins and losses and four points each, and both needed a win to claim second spot in the group to join Bahamas, recent winners of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association Championship in US Virgin Islands, St Croix in the second round of qualifiers next year ahead of the bronze and gold medal matches in the afternoon.


However, it was the host country which executed its plan almost to perfection and outscored its opponent on spikes, 36-26, 10-4 on blocks and 8-3 on service aces for the win to end with nine points while Jamaica was third with four, and Martinique, fourth with three.


 A visibly upset Brown commenting on his team’s display said his team has developed a trend of starting matches too slow and not all the times opponents will give them the chance to get back in the contest as was shown by Curacao.


“We are lacking that killer instinct at the moment and we now find ourselves in another must win match if we want to advance to the next round. We have to find that spirit for the match,” he stressed.


Raphael, meanwhile, was excited with the win which guaranteed his team a spot in the next round but at the same time said he was eagerly looking ahead to facing Bahamas for a second time in the gold medal match.


Steve Davis, coach of Jamaica noted that inconsistent play continues to be a key worry for his team, but at the same time there were some good signs in the team play.


“We have not gotten the results that we would like but there are a lot of positives to take forward and I am hoping that we can get it right against Martinique in that important match.


“As a coach I can plan as well as I want to for the match, but now it’s up to the guys to have that determination and execute well,” Davis explained. 


Hubert Petronia, the soft-spoken coach of Curacao boasted, “After our last match against Bahamas I said we will win against Jamaica and that is what we did here to reach the final. I am very proud of my players because in this tournament no one focused on us as being a threat and now we go into the final very confident.”


On Sunday night, Jamaica faces Martinique from 6pm in the bronze medal match which will determine the third team to join finalists, Bahamas and Curacao in the next round of qualifiers, beginning next year.