Back News




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 nature.


“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 Aikman.


“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,” he observed.

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.”