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USA spanks Calypso spikers

Monday, October 1, 2018
T&T’s senior women’s volleyball coach Francisco Cruz, left, talks to his charges during the time out in the World Championship game against the USA on Sunday in Japan. USA won 25-11, 25-12, 25-11. Photo by:Sean Morrison

T&T suffered another straight sets defeat (25-11, 25-12, 25-11) this time at the hands of defending champions USA in Pool C on day two of the 2018 FIVB Women's World Championship at the Kobe Green Arena, Osaka Bay, Japan, yesterday.

The Americans followed up on their victory on the previous night over Azerbaijan. They were led by Michelle Bartsch-Hackley who top scored with 15 points which included 10 spikes, three blocks and two aces to secure the victory which pushed them two wins from as many matches.

The USA started with an early 8-5 lead taking control of the set as T&T struggled to find any momentum. The American coach Karch Kiraly rested his starting team and opted to go with the bench, which was equally as strong and that caused a lot of problems for T&T.

With key players Renelle Forde out of the match due to illness and Delicia Pierre also out with a groin injury which will be assessed today, T&T had no room to make changes as this core six had to battle it out. US setter Micha Hancock was key in making the plays to keep T&T middle blocker Sinead Jack and Jalicia Ross-Kydd in constant check during the contest.

T&T got off same as the first going into the second set but the US defence was flawless as it blocked or touch everything that crossed the net and counter-attacked on T&T. T&T's libero Afesha Olton struggled to bring a steady game with her receiving during the second set as the US stuck to its game plan by serving tough and forcing T&T out of a system where it struggled to score against the blocks put up by the Americans in defence.

"Our Team did a very nice job of taking care of our side of the net and not worrying about the other team and we executed our game plan. We were serving tough and I like how everybody contributed so much this early in this tournament", the US coach Karch Kiraly said.

T&T made 17 errors to the USA just six, which never gave T&T an opportunity to compete with the opposition. The inexperience T&T team accepted the match as a learning experience as Darlene Ramdin and Kyrstle Esdelle did everything possible to keep T&T in the match with their powerful swings, but to no avail, as the main component, the reception never materialised in the match.

So with key middle attackers Jalicia Ross-Kidd and Sinead Jack out of the attacking front the team had to rely on its blocking as Jack contributed two and two aces which was way below her best.

After ending the second set 25-12 the confident Americans came out to finish the job as they jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the second set and the T&T women had no answer. Channon Thompson was T&T's top scorer with eight points of 24 attempts during her never give up display as she kept the fire-power with strong blocks of the many US attacks.

T&T coach was forced to bring in the captain Forde to try and strengthen the team's attack and blocking line up, but the USA never stopped pressing en route to a commanding 25-11 set win and match victory.

T&T coach Francisco Cruz said after the match, "This game represented for T&T a big challenge. The difference in the level of USA and T&T is too much. We have played against the United States before in other competitions but never against the first team of the United States. For our players, this was a very good experience".

The Calypso spikers will have a rest day today. The team will assemble for two practice sessions together with a gym workout, as the players prepare for their third match against Thailand which lost in a gruelling five-setter on Sunday against the Russians. Thailand is a very fast team which already recorded the victory against South Korea in its opening Group C match on Saturday.


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