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Cuba sweeps past Calypso Spikers
T&T "Calypso Spikers" suffered a straight-sets loss, 15-25, 28-30, 19-25, to former champion Cuba to end with a 0-3 Pool B round-robin record at the Women’s Volleyball Pan American Cup in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, yesterday.
Having taken a first ever set in a 3-1 loss to defending champion USA on Sunday followed by a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Puerto Rico on Monday, the Renele Forde-captained T&T team was aiming at another steady showing.
However, it was not to be as the Cubans, coming off a stunning five-set win over the USA on Monday night, proved a formidable opponent and took the win to stay in contention for top spot in the pool with a 2-1 record.
For Cuba, Regla Gracia tallied 15 points while Sulian Matienzo added 12 and Diaris Perez, ten, as they held the edge over T&T on spikes, 36-28; blocks 9-7 and service aces, 7-6 while committing fewer errors as well, 21 to 28.
On the other hand, T&T which recently captured the Senior Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Women’s Championship for a record seventh straight time and eighth overall, got a team-high 15 from the Turkey-based duo, former captain Krystle Esdelle and Sinead Jack, 12.
Another former "Calypso Spikers" captain, veteran Kelly-Anne Billingy added five and Philippines-based Darlene Ramdin, four in the loss.
Qualifiers to the FIVB World Championship in Japan later this year, the "Calypso Spikers" will have a day off today ahead of their ninth to 12th place semifinal playoff tomorrow.
At the end of yesterday’s round-robin phase, the top two ranked teams from the three pools will advance directly to the semifinals while the pool winner with the lowest ranking will compete in the quarterfinals with the top second and third place teams.
The top five ranked teams at the conclusion of the tournament will earn tickets to next year's Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
T&T is aiming to improve on its best ever ninth-placed finish from last year in Peru after beating two South American teams. Firstly, in the round-robin phase, T&T beat Chile 26-24, 25-22, 25-15 and then battled past Venezuela 25-22, 25-17, 19-25, 25-18 in their ninth-place playoff.
In 2016, the "Calypso Spikers" ended in the tenth spot, which equalled their finishes from 2009-2013 while they ended 12th on debut in 2007 as well as 2008 and 11th in 2014.
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