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Saint Vincent earns sixth at U21 men's championship, overcoming Phillip's 31 points


Continental Championship in sixth place after defeating Trinidad and Tobago 3-1 (24-26, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21) in a hard-fought classification game.


Saint Vincent setter Shevron Caine kept his front-row mates well-fed at the Centre Sportif de Gatineau. Ronaldo Franklin scored 20 points (18 kills from 43 attacks), outside-hitter counterpart Asmond Franklin tallied 16 (all kills from 35 attacks) and middle Marcus Thomas also scored 16 (including a match-high four blocks). Trinidad and Tobago ran mostly through captain Marlon Phillips, who set a tournament single-high with 31 points (with 30 kills from 63 attacks). 


Saint Vincent was a tough more proficient throughout the match, converting 53 of 115 (46.1 per cent) of its attacks whereas Trinidad was 45 of 117 (38.5%). Thomas also bounced back after taking a hard fall to the floor on the decisive point of the first set.


“Our performance today was very good compared with the other games we played,” Saint Vincent captain Delshun Welcome said. “I believe if we had this performance that we played today, in our other matches, we would have had a win. We played really good even though some of our players were injured.


We dropped our game [level of intensity] in earlier matches – we typically play harder than this,” added Welcome, who scored eight points. “Our game wasn’t there, but today it was more of our game.”


Nine Saint Vincent players are 18 or younger, indicating their core group of juniors have some potential.


“It was a much better performance today,” Saint Vincent coach Vance Andrews said. “I think the team had really good composure in the game. In the other matches, they played in patches, but in this game they played more of a complete match.


“We are going back and working on all the mistakes we had in this tournament. I want to keep working with these guys.”


The match slipped away from Trinidad in the second set, during the span between technical timeouts. Caine served six consecutive points to put Saint Vincent into a 16-12 lead. The defeat put Trinidad in seventh place.


“It was a hard way to finish the tournament after all of the work we put into developing,” Trinidad setter Kameron Donald said. “It was not a satisfying loss because we did not achieve the goal we came with. Congratulations to Saint Vincent. They fought hard for the victory.”


Trinidad's motivation to come to the U21, where it played Cuba and Canada in the group stage, was to help foster growth for Donald, Phillip and outside hitter Adriel Roberts (who scored 11 points on Sunday). All three teenagers are considered future senior team players.


“We have three guys who will factor in significantly as we push for the 2018 world championships,” Gideon Dickson said. “We needed to give them exposure at a high-level competition. They did in fact have a good tournament.”


Canada and Guatemala meet in the bronze-medal game later Sunday, while Cuba and USA play for the gold-medal and worlds berth to wrap the tournament.