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Barbados works for win against Saint Vincent at U21 men's championship


GATINEAU, Canada, July 6, 2016 – Captain Andriy Stapleton scored 13 points to boost Barbados to a straight-sets 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-17) victory against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Group A play at the U21 NORCECA Men's Continental Championship.


Following a see-saw opening set and a taut second, Barbados (1-1) took control against a developing and determined Saint Vincent squad. Carlos Cyrus scored 10 points (eight kills on 14 attacks, two blocks) and Ahkeem Mayers contributed eight, including two timely aces. Asmond Franklyn scored 10 points, including eight kills, to lead Saint Vincent (0-1) and Ronaldo Franklyn scored all nine of his points through kills.


Barbados, which has a bye on Thursday, will likely finish second in Group A and face the Group B third-place finisher in a quarter-final on Friday.


“Today's game we started very slowly in all three sets,” said Stapleton, who had a match-high 11 kills from 22 attacks. “The passing was better [than it was against the USA on Tuesday] but not as good as it could be. We improved our serving game. This win was important since it qualified us for second.”


Barbados was successful on 33 of 67 attacks, while Saint Vincent converted 19 of 73. Barbados was credited with 9-7 edge in digs. They needed three unanswered points to take a 24-minute opening set. In the second, they held tenuous 8-7 and 16-14 leads at the technical timeouts.


“That was a very good game from Saint Vincent,” Barbados coach John Stuart said. “We need to concentrate on our passing. Hopefully by quarter-finals and semifinals it will be what we need it to be. We will practice hard [Thursday] to get ready for the quarter-finals.”


Saint Vincent stayed in contact with a more experienced opponent for most of the way. Their  finest moment was likely a Ronaldo Franklyn kill from a Shevron Caine back-set that gave them their last lead, 23-22, of the first set.


“Our first effort was not bad,” Saint Vincent coach Vance Andrews said. “Our team has to get accustomed to play under these conditions that we are not used to. The next game [against the USA on Thursday] I think they will be doing better.


“It’s a tough competition for us. We have never really played this level of volleyball before.   We are here to get experience and take it to the next level.”


If not for a few small technical errors, Saint Vincent might have forced Barbados to a fourth set.


“It was good, but we made some unforced errors – service errors and our reception was off,” Saint Vincent captain Delshun Welcome said. “But our hitting was there. We have to work on our reception and faults.


“We have to prepare for the USA,” Welcome added. “They are a tough team with the highest rank, so we have to focus and try our best to move on to the next round.”


Saint Vincent faces the USA on Thursday at 4 p.m. to complete Group A play.