St. Maarten clinch semifinal spot; beat host BVI in thrilling 5 setter

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, October 14, 2023. – St. Maarten are the fourth semifinalist in the ECVA U23 Male Championship after a thrilling five set victory over host the British Virgin Islands. The match 19 win was laced with emotion, stunning turning arounds and nail-biting rallies.

St. Maarten responded after an inspirational move, where their captain was inserted into the match in the latter half of the fourth set. He was sidelined up to that point because of personal reasons but his introduction to the game motivated his team. They took that momentum right into the fifth set.

Top scorer for the match was the British Virgin Islands Kymal Panchoo with 16 points. The leading scorer for St. Maarten was Marcin Kwiatkowski. He tallied 15 points.

The host team British Virgin Islands won the first set behind several key blocks and forcing the opponent to play out of system. The vocal support of the home crowd also provided added incentive to come out firing.

St. Maarten were able to silence the crowd with added hustle and consistent serving and attacks and by the time both teams began trading points in the latter stages of the set, the visitors had established a comfortable lead.

In the third set, St. Maarten rode the momentum from the previous set. They led eight (8) to zero (0) at the first technical timeout. Playing from behind proved too much for the host and they conceded the set.

The host came alive in the fourth set. They reverted to their blocking strategy and it rattled the St. Maarten players. Their captain Panchoo got a whiff of the “Midas touch”; he carried his team. It was a stunning turnaround for the home side.

The fifth set was a full on battle, as both teams fought to gain the advantage. At the point of switching, St. Maarten held a slim lead and they were able to diffuse a last charge to steal the set.

St. Martin’s coach Nicholas Henrietta was beaming with pride. He emphasized how proud he was of his team and noted that they will relish the victory as it provides additional confidence heading into the semifinal.

The British Virgin Islands coach Kwele Williams said he was impressed with the level of play that his team showcased in the loss and noted that it was indicative of a passion to continue their volleyball growth.

The four semifinalists are St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Maarten. Both semifinals will be played tomorrow morning (October 15).

Follow the link below for live streaming: