Trinidad & Tobago cruises past Panama


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, July 16, 2014 - Trinidad and Tobago overwhelmed Panama 25-17, 25-16, 25-15 in the second match of a double-header during the opening night of the NORCECA Women’s Final Playoff Wednesday at Sport & Physical Education Centre of the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies.


The hosts, ranked 31 in the world, began the match by winning the first five points, and although they were admittedly not at their best, they were never in danger and got the job done in 75 minutes.


Channon Thompson had eight kills and six aces to lead the way for T&T with 15 points and was ably assisted by fellow 20-year-old Sinead Jack and Jalicia Ross-Kydd, who chipped in with 11 and ten points, respectively.


Captain Johanna Arroyo top-scored with nine points for Panama, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament at No. 55 in the world.


T&T captain Kelly Billingy congratulated Panama for reaching the playoff and stated: “We have to improve on the things that we did well and cut down on the errors as the tournament progresses.”


And Nicholson Drakes, who is coaching the five-time Caribbean champions for the first time, confidently pointed out that “we have a lot of work to do and respect for all the other teams, but we intend to win the tournament.”


Panama’s coach Reynaldo Ortega congratulated T&T and added “they know how to take advantage of their height. They served well enough to prevent us from playing like we are used to.”


Costa Rica, Mexico and Nicaragua are also participating in the round-robin tournament until July 20 and the triumphant country will occupy the 24th and final place in the World Championships, which will take place in Italy from September 23-October 12.