Jamaica win tough battle against Hunsel, Suriname
KINGSTON, Jamaica, July 28, 2017 -
Jamaica staved off a determined challenge from Suriname to win
3-1 and maintain their winning streak in Group E preliminary
play of the International Volleyball Association (FIVB) World
Championship Qualifier at the National Indoor Sports Centre here
on Friday night.
With the opportunity of earning a rest day and ensuring not
having to face defending champions Trinidad and Tobago in
Sunday’s semi-finals, the teams fought tooth and nail and left
it all on the floor, before Jamaica prevailed 25-21, 23-25,
26-24, 25-20 at the National Indoor Sports Centre.
Much of Suriname’s resistance came through the outstanding
Sandrina Hunsel, who rained down 31 kills in 36 points. Janice
Valies contributed with all her eight points in kills, while
Mercedes Willemsberg tallied their second highest points, 11.
The home team recorded more errors, 32 to their opponents’ 25,
but they also suffered through the early loss of key player,
Breanna Atkinson, who picked up an injury as she attempted a
return in the very first set.
Tahleia Bishop, who has been outstanding all-round this
tournament, led the way in picking up the slack and topped
Jamaica’s scoring with 24 points, 17 of them kills. Simone Asque
was also on song, spiking 12 of 13 points, while Aiko Jones (10
points), Danaisha Moss (7) and Sashalee Wallen (6) added to the
numbers in their team’s rallying charge.
“Today’s match was challenging,” said Ricardo Chong, Jamaica’s
head coach. “First of all we started out a little slow and then
we had an injury to a key player, so it took a little time for
the other players to recover, but luckily they had that fighting
spirit in them and they came out and fight and won so that we
can get a rest day tomorrow.”
Suriname’s coach, Eric Aikman, regularly called time-outs to
break Jamaican momentum. He too noted the game’s competitive
“I think it was a very good match. I think it was one of the
best matches that have been played in the tournament,” opined
“I’m not disappointed because I’ve seen my team play very hard
and very good. We made some critical errors, but that’s all in
the game and nothing is lost, we still have the quarter-finals
and if we win in the quarter-finals we can go to the
semi-finals,” he added.
The home team got the luxury of that rest day - along with
Trinidad and Tobago – for being group winners as they advanced
straight to Sunday’s semi-finals and Chang stated its benefits.
“It helps a lot because we’ve been going three days. We train in
the mornings and play in the evening so a rest day helps a lot,”
Suriname, having suffered their second loss, placed third in the
group and will face Martinique in this evening’s quarter-final
action, with the winners moving forward.
This competition is also the 2017 Caribbean Zonal Volleyball
Association (CAZOVA) Women’s Championship, which was won last
time by Trinidad and Tobago. They have already one of two CAZOVA
spots for the FIVB Round Three Worlds, which means only
remaining spot is up for grabs in this championship.
Chong said: “Everybody is here to fight to get that one spot and
you need to get to the final if Trinidad and Tobago are in the
finals. So it’s very important to get to the semis.”
Suriname, who finished third in the group, will get their chance
in this evening’s clash against Martinique.
“We play at six so we have a whole day to recover. We’re going
to do some recovery training and we’re gonna talk to the girls,
keep them mentally strong so we can play a good match in the
quarter-finals,” said Aikman.
“Martinique is a strong opponent,” he added. “I think they are a
very tough team to beat because they are very versatile, they
move quick and they have a strong defence. But I hope we can
break that defence and come away with the game.”