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T&T vball men face Bahamas in CAZOVA opener
T&T senior men’s volleyball squad will serve off their quest for a third straight Senior Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) title in the feature match of a double-header in Paramaribo, Suriname from 1pm today.
In the opening match of the five-team round-robin competition, host Suriname comes up against Haiti at 11 am.
Ten-time winners, Barbados, is the other team in the competition.
Winners of the tournament in 2010 in Suriname for the first time, the T&T team was then dethroned by the Bahamas two years later in a controversial final in the US Virgin Islands, before recapturing the crown on home soil in 2014 and then repeating as champions last year, also at home.
However, since defeating T&T for the title in 2012, Bahamas has been in a rapid tailspin and with a new coach in place in Lloyd Davis will be keen to see the team improve on a dismal eighth-place showing from last year.
T&T coach Sean Morrison and his team will also be brimming with confidence having gone undefeated to CAZOVA rivals since the 2012 decider. His confidence will be boosted much more with the return of SL Benfica middle-blocker, Marc-Anthony Honore who was voted as the “Best Middle Blocker” at the just concluded 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games Men’s Volleyball Championship in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Honore’s involvement at the CAC Games was his first in national colours since 2014, mainly due to injury, and along with captain Ryan Stewart, Joshua Mohammed, Mikheil Hoyte, Akim Bushe, Daneil Williams, setter Kameron Donald, and Brandon Legall, the ‘Most Valuable Player’ award recipient on home soil last year, will be key to T&T’s bid for a third straight crown, something only ever achieved by Barbados, which won ten straight from 1992-2006.
The tournament in Suriname is the third for Morrison and the national team so far this year, having participated at the NORCECA’ Men’s Challenge Cup in Cuba and the CAC Games.
In Cuba, T&T ended with a 1-3 record after losing to Puerto Rico (0-3), Cuba (0-3) and Guatemala (1-3) while tasting victory versus Costa Rica 3-0.
T&T then went winless at the CAC Games, a 0-5 record, going under to Colombia (2-3), Puerto Rico (0-3) and Guatemala (1-3) in pool play.
This was followed by defeats against Venezuela (0-3) and Guatemala, again, (1-3) in the playoffs to end in the eighth spot.
The T&T team left last night for Suriname and will have a slight morning work-out ahead of their opener.
The trio of Martinique, Curacao and Jamaica will not be competing in this year’s event but Morrison was adamant the tournament will be just as challenging.
“With teams like Barbados, Haiti, Suriname and Bahamas we know it's not going to be easy, so we just have to take it to match by match and don’t underestimate our opponents”, ended Morrison.
Speaking in the Bahamas Tribune newspaper earlier this week, Bahamas coach Lloyd Davis who replaced Covance Mortimer said he has assembled the best players available to compete.
The five teams will play a round-robin series at the end of which the top two teams will contest the gold medal match while the third and fourth placed teams will compete for the bronze.
Akim Bushe, Marlon Phillip, Kameron Donald, Mikheil Hoyte, Ryan Stewart (captain), Marc-Anthony Honore, Joshua Mohammed, Brandon Legall, Daneil Williams, Daynte Stewart.
Suriname vs Haiti, 11 am (TT time)
Bahamas vs T&T, 1 pm
Tomorrow (Session One)
T&T vs Haiti, 8 am
Barbados vs Bahamas, 10 am
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