TRINIDAD and Tobago used strong serving to defeat Saint Lucia 25-15, 25-16 and 25-17 on Tuesday in the opening pool play match of the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
The Trinidadians led Saint Lucia in kills (34-19) and aces (5-2) while the teams tied in blocks (6- 6). Trinidad and Tobago scored on 30 errors by Saint Lucia while committing 21.
Trinidad and Tobago was led by opposite Ryan Stewart, who had 10 points on seven kills, one block and two aces. They also put together several strong serving runs to pull ahead in each set. Middle blocker Marc Honore was a particularly consistent server.
Saint Lucia was led by outside hitter Joseph Clercent, who scored 14 points on 11 kills, one block and two aces.
Saint Lucia’s second game was against Canada last evening while Trinidad and Tobago will have the day off.
Trinidad and Tobago Head Coach, Sean Morrison, said: “It was a good match. For the guys, we didn’t play together as a team for the last four months. We have 40 guys overseas. This was our first game together since June. As I told them, each game is a building point for us to keep working.
“In our last tournament, our service was really bad, so during our preparation I made sure we focused on service so the guys could be more consistent.”
Trinidad and Tobago captain, Ryan Stewart, on what the team did well, said: “Coming back because we started out a little slow. Just focusing and getting points one by one it added up and we ended up on top. We did well by commitment. We blocked well and attacked well.”
Saint Lucia Head Coach, Terry Verdant, said: “It was a very easy match because we did not play our game at all. We need to work more on our defense and try to play harder.”
Saint Lucia captain, MongrooServin, said: “Maybe it was nerves. We are a brand-new team apart from me and Clercent. Against Canada, we want to enjoy the game more, play harder and learn something out of it.”
The Saint Lucia team reads: ServinMongroo (captain), Gillan Octave, Darnell Eudoxie, Scott Louis, Coen Caesar, Sheldon Descartes, Levi Leonce, MattheusLeonce, Keson Edmund, Joseph Clercent and Anfernee Ferdinand. Head Coach is Terry Verdant and Manager is Jean Morille.
The revised NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship has two groups of three teams and one group of four teams.
The USA, Dominican Republic and Guatemala are part of Group A while Canada, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago are in Group B. The preliminary round matches for Group A and B will be played in the Main Competition Hall (Sports Center I). Group C, which will be played in Sports Center II, has Costa Rica, Martinique, Mexico and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.