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Calypso Spikers tame Volleyroos for historic win
T&T’s “Calypso Spikers” completed a stunning upset when they came from behind to defeat Australia 3-1 (16-25, 25-18, 26-24, 25-17) in their Group Three, Pool D-3 clash on week two of the FIVB Women’s World Grand Prix, at the National Cycling Centre in Balmain, Couva, on Friday night.
Leading the way for the six-time Caribbean champions, who are playing their first match on home soil at this level, was European-based Krystle Esdelle with 18 points, 13 of which were spikes.
The trio of Channon Thompson, with 17, Jalicia Ross-Kydd ,with 11, and Sinead Jack, with ten, all contributed to the win for T&T, who were shut out 0-3 on their World Grand Prix debut in Mexico last week, including a loss to the same Australian team.
Darlene Ramdin, with nine and captain Renele Forde, who chipped in with six, were the other scorers for T&T who completely outplayed their opponents after a nervous start. Game statistics showed that T&T led 47-37 on spikes, 13-7 on blocks and 11-6 on aces. The lone blemish on the T&T women’s performance came via errors, 34 to Australia’s 21.
On the other side of the net, Rachel Rourke, who was the key player in her team’s sweep of T&T last week, had a match-high 21 points, laced with 17 spikes, while Eliza Hynes got 11 in the loss.
Commenting after the match Forde said she was happy that her team got a win in their opening match at home.
She said: “This is definitely a thrilling feeling for us. We are all super excited to get a win in our first match at home in this prestigious tournament.
“In Mexico, we did not play as we had hoped and things were rough for us, but we came back home worked on our game and we are delighted to get the win. It was an all-round team effort.”
Cruz added: “There is a big difference of the preparations of the two teams for tournaments like these. So for us to get a win is good, but we need to get better preparation which means playing a lot more matches.”
Shannon Winzer, coach of Australia said, “We did not play well at all today. Our first contact was not up to scratch and we suffered for it. We were also too predictable in offence and in all fairness T&T played well.”
Beth Carey, captain of Australia, praised T&T for a much improved showing.
She said: “I think T&T really upped their service game. They also have very good blocks and if we don’t have good service pass it will be difficult for us as you saw.
“Being at home also made a huge difference for T&T. They played with more energy and passion than in Mexico and they got the result.
“We started well, but once T&T started to block and serve well, we dropped our game.”
Last night, T&T was set to tackle Cameroon, while Australia and France was set to meet. In today’s final round of matches from 5.30 pm, Cameroon meets Australia while T&T comes up against France at 8 pm.