St Lucia tops T&T for automatic FIVB Boys U19 World Beach spot

BLACKROCK, TOBAGO, MAY 26, 2024.-   Rio Jaden Victor and Peter Emmanuel of St Lucia earned the lone automatic spot to the upcoming FIVB World Championship Under-19 Beach Volleyball Tournament.

This after the duo beat host Trinidad and Tobago’s Jerome Morrison, and Darion Sparks 2-0  in the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA)/Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) FIVB World Championship Boys’ Under-19 Beach Volleyball Qualifiers final at the Courland Beach Sports Facility 21-19, 21-12 in 43 minutes to stun the host duo.

Earlier in the semifinals, Victor and Emmanuel swept past Jedediah Pencheon, and Julian Bristol of St Kitts/Nevis 2-0 (21-15, 21-7) and Morrison/Sparks battled past Dylan Lynee and William Duty of Cayman Islands 2-0 (21-18, 21-15).

When the two-day tournament resumed on Sunday morning following Saturday’s round-robin group stage and round-of-12 playoff matches, Victor and Emmanuel defeated Grenada’s Javon Charles and Kibose Hamilton 2-0 (21-9, 21-10) in their quarterfinal while Pencheon and Bristol rallied past Jamaal Key Jr and Raphael Kemp of Bahamas 2-1 (21-10, 20-22, 15-5); Lynee and Duty topped Kalen Applewhaite and Cael Greenidge of Barbados 2-0 (23-21, 21-14), and Ange Gaspard Volckaert and Lucas Berard of Martinique humbled Morrison and Sparks (2-1) 6-21, 21-17, 15-10.

However, due to Martinique being an affiliate on France they are not allowed to qualify for FIVB World Championship as a regional member country, which meant that T&T was then pitted against the next highest ranked team among the losing quarterfinalists, Bahamas for a second shot at making the semifinals, which T&T won 2-0 (21-6, 21-18).

Despite losing the final and the direct ticket to the FIVB World Championship main draw in China, T&T along with third placed finishers Pencheon and Bristol (who outlasted Lynee and Duty in their playoff 2-1 (17-21, 21-15,15-11) will still have a chance to qualify to the main draw after securing the two spots available to the qualification draw which also takes place in China from August 27 to September 1.

On Saturday, St Lucia, T&T, Cayman Islands, and St Kitts/Nevis all topped their respective round-robin pools to advance to the quarterfinals of the with perfect records.

Playing under overcast conditions which was to the players liking Morrison, who participated at the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games at the same venue, and Sparks overcame British Virgins Islands’ Jason Dunkley Maduro and  Alexander 2-0 (21-6, 21-7), and Grenada 2-0 (21-5, 21-15) to finish with a 2-0 record in Group A while Grenada defeated British Virgin Islands 21-16, 21-1 for the runner-up spot to qualify to the last-eight

In Group B, St Lucia (LCA) also ended with a 2-0 record in group play courtesy of victories against Martinique 2-0 (215, 21-14), and Antigua and Barbuda’s 2-0 (21-6, 21-5)

Volckaert and Berard took the second spot in the pool after beating Antigua and Barbuda 2-0 (21-12, 21-6).

Group C comprised only two teams with St Kitts/Nevis beating Barbados 2-0 (22-20, 21-15) to advance to the quarterfinals while Cayman Islands won Group D after beating Bahamas 2-0 (21-16, 211-6).

And in the round-of-12 Bahamas got the better of British Virgin Islands 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-12) and Barbados won 2-1 (13-21, 21-14, 17-15) against Antigua and Barbuda.