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Juniors among finalists seeking volleyball crowns

Juniors stunned Chargers with a 3-1 victory and in the process created history by advancing into the finals of the Goddard Enterprises Senior Volleyball Knockout Competition for the first time where they will take on reigning kings Progressive.

In action last night at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Progressive edged out Deacons 3-2 in a hard-fought semi-final encounter. Meanwhile, in the women’s semi-final, Flow Sentry Insurance Deacons came from behind to win 3-1 over Carlton Club while Toners also went down to Pan American Life Insurance Warrens 3-1.

Deacons veteran Julia Lewis spikes one past Carlton’s defensive wall of captain Janelle Morris and Tamisia Trotman.

Deacons veteran Julia Lewis spikes one past Carlton’s defensive wall of captain Janelle Morris and Tamisia Trotman.

But it was the first semifinal match-up between Juniors and Chargers that provided the night’s big upset. Juniors led by captain Andriy Stapleton won 25-17, 25-23, 16-25 and 25-19. After Juniors won the first set Chargers came out strong in the second and actually led at the first mandatory break 8-7 but Juniors managed to regain the lead at 16-12 and eventually took that set which was an exciting affair.

Juniors captain Andriy Stapleton (second left) was devastating with these attacking plays against Chargers. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

Juniors captain Andriy Stapleton (second left) was devastating with these attacking plays against Chargers. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

Not all was lost however for Chargers who came back in the third set and commanded the play from the outset, 8-6, 16-14, and took the momentum away from Juniors who seemed to have lost their composure at that stage. They however sorted out their issues and came back to whip Chargers who had the likes of Dale Addison and Alain London at their disposal.

The game of the night was however that between last year’s knockout finalists Progressive and Deacons. Deacons needed to make amends from last year and Progressive just needed to win in order to have a shot at defending their title and that they did in a nail-biting contest which ended 17-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-23 and 16-14 to Progressive.

Deacons initially had the upper hand and momentum with a 2-1 score-line advantage. Progressive needed to win the fourth set in order to stay alive and did so to the delight of their supporters. But it was not an easy task as Klode Thompson of Deacons slammed one down the middle to lock the game 23-23 and Progressive dug deep to find two significant points and keep themselves in the contest which then went into a fifth and decisive set.  This final battle had those in the Wildey Gymnasium sitting on the edge of their seats.

The scores were tied 7-7 in the fifth set, then Progressive took the advantage 8-7 at break and after that it was a matter of tit for tat between the two sides who traded points with Deacons trailing by a slim margin. The game changer came when the scores were locked 14-14 and Progressive star player Fabian Cox with his attacking plays nailed one past Deacons defence and that was followed by a thunderous spike by Jerome Stuart down the middle to win the game for Progressive and silence Deacons’ supporters.

In the first women’s semi-final Deacons came from the deficit of the first set 22-25 to defeat Carlton 25-12, 25-20 and 25-14.  It seemed Carlton and their loud supporters got under Deacons’ skins a bit but once the second quarter began and Deacons held their composure there was no stopping the ladies coached by former Barbados captain Elwyn Oxley.

Toners did a similar thing in their semi-final against Warrens where they started off with a bang in the opening set which they took 25-18 but just could not continue the winning formula from there on as they lost the others at 25-19, 25-16 and 25-23 to last year’s losing finalists Warrens who had to work for their victory as they were down 14-13 in the fourth set and had to fight their way back in order to take the lead from Toners at 15-14. Warrens went up to 20 points and this time around it was Toners who fought their way back into the game and eventually locked the scores 23-23. Warrens however took the lead yet again and this time Rhe-Ann Niles of Warrens with a spike finished off Toners.

The finals are scheduled for Monday, August 31, at the Wildey Gymnasium.

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