Volleyball finals a smashing success

Volleyball action closed out Dec. 5 with the Ladybugs claiming the Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation’s Women’s Division championship and Team Chemistry winning the Men’s Division. 

The finals, played at the ARC at Camana Bay before a crowd of about 100 enthusiastic fans, saw the third-seeded Survivors face off against the fourth-seeded Ladybugs in the early match-up. In the first set, the two teams traded hard spikes while on offense and incredible digs on defense. The Survivors were once again led by Carmen “Brad” Picate with eight kills and eight big digs, and Chlouie Gaetos with three kills and three digs for the game. 

For the Ladybugs, Karlie Cross had eight kills and Jessica Wolfenden had 11 kills and 5 aces, continuing their hot hitting streak. 

The teams traded leads several times in a tight first set, but the Ladybugs won the first set 25-20 behind some excellent defense by Elena Testori, who had four big digs. 

In the second set, the Survivor lineup placed Picate, Gaetos and Stacy-Ann Kelly all in the back court together, which forced setter Krista Ebanks to send all sets in the front court to Jacqueline “Jack” Barrozo, who delivered on several opportunities with six kills and an ace. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the court, the Ladybugs were hitting on all cylinders. With Karlie Cross and Jessica Wolfenden opposite each other, there was a steady and relentless stream of attacks, depending on who was in the front court. This mismatch became more evident as the game wore on, the score went from 9-7 to 13-7 with the Survivors’ primary attackers in the back court, and on the next rotation from 19-15 to 25-15 as the Survivors’ primary attackers were again trapped in the back court and unable to match the Ladybug attack. 

Despite the loss, the Survivors had a great run and did a great job in helping to raise awareness of breast cancer with their bright pink uniforms. 

For the Ladybugs, it seemed an almost improbable run from fourth seed, facing the possibility of elimination several times, until clinching the victory. 

In the Men’s Division final, top-seeded Androgroup Jeriatrics faced off against second-seeded Chemistry. The better portion of this game was played well above the net and featured some of the hardest spikes and biggest blocks from the high-flying Keeble Knight of Chemistry and Allen Grunert, Martin “Anthony” Bodden and Richard Campbell from the Jeriatrics. 

In the first set, Bodden put away seven ferocious spikes that were nearly matched by Knight’s six spikes heading the other way, but the real difference was the six combined service aces served up by Hemant Balgobin and Grunert for the Jeriatrics, lifting them to a 25-22 win. 

In the second set, the Jeriatrics jumped out again behind the attack of Allen with four kills, and Nchane Jere with three kills for the set. Down 17-22, Chemistry was led by Knight’s five kills, with Jesper Barrozo and Adrian Jackson adding another three kills each. 

The Jeriatrics were left wanting as their lineup resulted with the three high-flying attackers, Grunert, Bodden and Campbell all locked in the back court, while Chemistry mounted an attack to come from behind to win 25-22 and set the stage for a third set showdown. 

In the third set, the scoring was again tight, but the Jeriatrics jumped out to an early lead before seeing it fade due to numerous unforced errors and big blocks set by Chemistry. Having lost the lead, the Jeriatrics were forced to adjust their strategy, moving Campbell to set Grunert, who scored seven kills in the set, and Bodden, who had three kills in this final set. 

Serving at 21-23, Grunert pulled the Jeriatrics back into contention behind three service aces to re-take the lead, 24-23. But Chemistry ripped the next three points through Knight’s kills and solid blocking to win the third and final deciding set, 26-24. 

The stars of the game were clearly Knight, with 16 kills and an ace for Chemistry, and Grunert, with 14 kills, four aces and a block for the Jeriatrics. 

For Chemistry, Barrozo and David Wood had five blocks between them in the third set alone, and unsung hero Jackson added six kills, three digs and two blocks on the game. Setter Davidson Ruwende did an amazing job of spreading the ball around, giving all players an opportunity to contribute to the win. 

Kevin Solomon, CIVF technical director, thanked all fans, sponsors, referees, scorekeepers, line crew and ball crew for their assistance during the CIVF National Volleyball League 2015. He also offered thanks from the CIVF board to the tournament committee of Troy Alleyne, Jesse Pie, Debby Pie and Dina Wood for all their time and effort this year, and to the First Baptist Church for hosting the games at no charge. 

Team Chemistry earned the Men

Team Chemistry earned the Men’s Division title.

Ladies’ runners-up the Surviors do a great job of bringing awareness to breast cancer.

Ladies’ runners-up the Surviors do a great job of bringing awareness to breast cancer.

Allen Grunert of Jeriatrics faces a big block by Keeble Knight.

Allen Grunert of Jeriatrics faces a big block by Keeble Knight.