ST. JOHN’S, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA – The Under-18 female Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association youth tournament spiked off at the indoor facility at the YMCA Sports complex over the weekend.
Players from St Marteen, St Eustatius, Saint Lucia, and hosts Antigua and Barbuda were engaged in stiff competition during the two-day tournament.
The tournament was contested on a round-robin basis with each team playing the others, with the top two facing off in the championship game.
All games were played using the best-of-five sets format. The third and fourth placed teams after the preliminary round met to decide third place.
In the tournament opener, Saint Lucia breezed past St Eustatius in straight sets 25-11, 25-12, 25-18.
Antigua and Barbuda had their hands full against a determined St Marteen team. It took four competitive sets before the hosts discarded the French team 25-16, 22-25, 29-27, 25-23.
Action continued with St Marteen bouncing back to dismiss St Eustatius in straight sets 25-13, 25-11, 25-17.
Day 1 action was brought to a close with Antigua and Barbuda versus Saint Lucia rivalry renewed. The hosts got the better of the Helen of the West girls in three sets, winning 25-14, 25-16, 26-24.
Day 2 got under way with a thrilling five-setter between St Marteen and Saint Lucia, which saw the French team rally from a set down to beat St Lucia 3-2 (18-25, 25-19, 25-14, 22-25, 15-12).
Antigua and Barbuda finished the preliminary stage of the tournament undefeated after they brushed aside the minnows of the competition St Eustatius in three easy straight sets 25-13, 25-11, 25-17.
This paved the way for an intriguing rematch in the final between Antigua and Barbuda and St Marteen, who finished the round-robin with a 2-1 record, to decide the champions.
Saint Lucia and St Eustatius were to contest the third-place decider in the consolation match.
Antigua and Barbuda were asked to host the 2016 inaugural tournament after St Martin cited financial reasons for not being able to host the event.
St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada pulled out of the tournament due to financial challenges.
PHOTO -: Action in the Antigua versus Saint Lucia much anticipated clash (courtesy – orisphotography)