Simply put, Team Kayotics had a score to settle with the Arsenal Falcons. The last time they met, the Arsenal Falcons overpowered the Kayotics with incredible high-flying smashes from Olney ‘OT’ Thompson and Kennedy McGowan. On Saturday, Kayotics came to avenge their first and only loss of the season. The long-running rivalry between OT and Shervin Rankin, arguably the two best volleyball players produced by the Cayman Islands makes for hot volleyball action.
In the first set, both teams came out aggressively trying to take an early lead. The Falcons’ offense features a strong lineup of middle attackers with OT, Kennedy McGowan and Miguel Lewis who each deliver incredible spikes from the stratosphere. By contrast, Kayotics rely on raw outside power hitting from Shervin Rankin and Daniel Pattico along with tall, strong blocking from Peter Williams and Andrew Gordon to defend against the high-flying Falcons attack.
Falcons’ setter, Damien ‘Spiggle’ looked for OT and Berro Bobus, who smartly placed spikes into any small gaps left by Kayotics’ defence. However, Kayotics answered point for point with searing cross-court smashes from Daniel Pattico. With added help from Shervin Rankin deftly tooling on the Falcons’ double-block, the Kayotics managed to build and hang on to a narrow 2-point lead to take the first set 27-25.
In the second set, Kayotics seemed desperate to close out the game against the all out assault from Falcons and began making small errors. To exploit Kayotic’s one-man block, the Falcons began to run blistering middle attacks. Kennedy McGowan and OT crushed the ball into the Kayotics’ front court with such power that the ball ricocheted from floor to ceiling to the absolute delight of the crowd. Kayotics turned to Andrew Gordon and Daniel Pattico, who again answered for his team with blistering smashes. Shervin Rankin began jump-serving aggressively to add more pressure on the Falcons. Slowly and painfully the Kayotics managed to pull away and win the second set and the game 25-21.
Falcons remain convinced that Kayotics’ win was simply a fluke. However there can be no real doubt that the man of the match is Daniel Pattico. Despite a prior back injury, Daniel Pattico’s hard-hitting smashes and powerful serving gave Kayotics the edge it needed to take a win against the powerful Arsenal Falcons.
Fulcrum Thundercats weather ‘Admiral Storm’
The Womens competitive division also involved a rematch between the Fulcrum Thundercats and Admiral Storm. In their previous face-off, the Admiral Storm were edged out by the Thundercats in a three set nail-bitter. Having lost all of its games so far, the Admiral Storm were anxious to get its first win of the season but were again unable to defeat the tenacious Thundercats.
Storm opened the first set but struggled early on with unforced errors and the Thundercats took a comfortable 7 point lead. Under new coach Shannon Emslie the Thundercats defense looked sharper and smarter than in its previous games when the Cats were let down by repeated defensive mistakes and dropped balls.
With strong serving from its setter Natisha Ramroop, Storm surged back and soon tied up the score. The Cats rallied with sharp attacks from Audrey Kwan who is now emerging as a clutch hitter from the right side. Storm’s Libero player Jo Richards lead its defense with solid digs from back court but Storm was unable to hold off the Cats which took the first set 25-19.
The second set was even more spirited with Storm determined fight to the last point. However, the Thundercats were equally determined to win and Krista Jorch opened with 6 straight unanswered serves. After finally breaking the serve, Sophia Foster and Janet ‘Drew’ Dhanraj lead Storm’s attack hitting hard cross-court from high outside. Dhanraj and Storm’s big middle player Jennifer Henry also set up a clutch double-block late in the second set. The Cats’ first-time setter Tiffany Maier managed to find Emily Maley outside to hit long and hard smashes. With no effective middle play, Maier also managed to back-set Belinda Francis and Melanie McLaughlin on the right side who finished with a wicked spike. The Cats took the second set and game 25-22.