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Guadeloupe off to flying start

GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands, November 12, 2016 -  Guadeloupe got off to a flying start in Group C of the first round of the CAZOVA qualifying series for the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Volleyball Championship here tonight at Clifton Hunter High School.

The sixth-ranked team in the zone turned in a very impressive display to defeat the seventh-ranked Bahamas 25-21, 25-11, 26-24 in the first match of the round-robin tournament.

The Bahamians turned the third set into a thriller after all seemed lost when they found themselves trailing 7-2.

They won ten of the next 15 points to level proceedings at 12-all and later took five straight from 20-17 down to get within three points of an improbable comeback.

But they failed to convert two set points at 24-22 as Guadeloupe bounced back to win the last four points of the contest 84-minute contest.

Bahamian coach Jason Saunders stated “They played an excellent match,” but believes that that the contest would have gone five sets had his players been able to close out the third.

“It was the first time we played together in a while, so I’m pleased with our performance,” said his captain Kelsie Johnson, who expects her players will only get better in the two remaining matches.

Her opposite number Kelsie Johnson had a very similar response, pointing out “we did a very good job since this a completely new team and it was the first time we played together.”

And coach Pascall Douglas noted that “‘we know Bahamas is a very strong team and we had to come out to play. “This victory could be very important for the rest of the competition.”

Although there are five matches remaining, the result could eventually decide the outcome as they are the two highest ranked teams in the tournament.

Bonaire and Cayman Islands, ranked 11th and 12th, respectively, in CAZOVA (Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association) are the other contestants and the teams which finish in the first two positions when the tournament ends tomorrow night will advance to the second round in Jamaica in July.

The next World Championship will take place in Japan and will include six countries from the NORCECA region.