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Kings and queens

Deacons, Progressive take volleyball honours

Flow Sentry Insurance Deacons are the 2015 Goddard Enterprises Limited Senior Volleyball Knockout queens. And last night also at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Barbados Bearings Progressive retained their title for a second consecutive year.

Deacons’ women were victorious in the best of five sets final over Pan American Life Insurance Warrens 22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 17-25 and 15-13. And in the men’s final Progressive trounced Juniors in straight sets 25-23, 25-14 and 25-22.

Deacons’ Shonte Seale and Deanne Smith (at the nets) blocking a shot taken by Warrens captain Rhe-Ann Niles.

Deacons’ Shonte Seale and Deanne Smith (at the nets) blocking a shot taken by Warrens captain Rhe-Ann Niles.

Deacons last won the knockout in 2013 when they actually did the double by taking the league title also and coach Andrew Culpepper told Barbados TODAY this year they were seeking to do the same.

He explained that the ladies were a bit rusty due to lack of practice but they played well under pressure even though they made a few errors during the final.

“The girls followed instructions well and we did not have one dominant player. It was a total team effort and each girl had a role. So we had girls that just played heavy backcourt defence, we had two main attackers but I think a lot of errors are what caused the game to go into five sets. I think if we had cut out the errors we would have won easily and man for man we have a little more talent than they do,” said Culpepper.

After leading 2-1 heading into the fourth set Warrens needed to win in order to stay alive and that they did when they went up 16-12 at the second mandatory break as Deacons only managed to score one point after that as Warrens took the game by eight points thanks to captain Rhe-Ann Niles marshaling her team well.

The scores were locked 12-12 when veteran volleyballer Julia Lewis scored with a big spike that bounced past Deacons defence followed by a soft drop shot on the wing that allowed them to go up by two points and eventually win the game.

In the men’s final Progressive who had a much harder time in the opening round of the knockout against Juniors managed to win the finals easily and coach Marcus Green admitted that even though this year’s final was not up to standard compared to last year’s, he noted that credit must be given to Juniors for reaching that stage.

“That fact that we have won two consecutive knockout titles shows that we are going back to our strength of old and some may say the competition is not up to standard as last year but we fought hard during the rounds and when you fight early, in the end you have it easy. Recently Progressive have been in the wilderness to Deacons and Chargers but now we are having some resurgence and I have some youth in my team that we are building for the future. So five years down the road with this same group we could be dominating volleyball again.

“I think the talk about the Juniors not being up to standard is a bit disrespectful because this same Juniors team beat Chargers in the semi-final and this very same junior team I went to five sets with in the first round. Every night is not a good night and maybe they did not have a good night tonight but I think the game plan of serving hard really got me a lot of points and broke the Juniors’ spirit,” Marcus said.

Juniors actually started well in the first set with a few good blocks and big spikes from their captain Andriy Stapleton to lead 8-2 at the first mandatory break. But Progressive under the guidance of Green were able to hit back hard with the likes of national player Fabian Cox and Akeem Payne taking over the game..

From there on Juniors just seemed to have lost their momentum as Progressive took charge and slammed them by 11 points in the second set. However Juniors showed greater fight in the third set when they came from behind to lock the scores 20-20 but their effort still wasn’t enough to dethrone the reigning champions.

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