USVI claims first Girls Under-19 CAZOVA crown

PLEASANTVILLE, San Fernando, Trinidad, July 11, 2022: US Virgin Islands captured their first-ever Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Youth Girls (Under-19) Championship title following a polished 3-0 (25-22, 25-20,25-14) win over Martinique in their finals showdown at the Southern Regional Indoor Sports Arena (SRISA).

With the victory, which added to their triumph in the Under-21 Women’s competition less than 24 hours earlier, at the same venue, the US Virgin Islands booked their ticket as CAZOVA’s representative to the NORCECA Continental Championship to be staged in Puerto Rico from February 5 to 13, 2023 and will serve as a qualifier to the FIVB World Championship also to be played next year.

It was also the fourth win from as many matches for US Virgin Islands to end 4-0 while Martinique took home the bronze, and ended 2-2 after losing to USVI as well in the round-robin group stage.

With the two divisional titles won, USVI joined Trinidad and Tobago female teams of 20007 and 2012 to have completed the sweep at the same tournament while Barbados has done so among the male, in 2013 and 2019.

Speaking after his team’s first loss in two matches, Martinique coach Wilham Lebel said it was very difficult for his team to play without their best player, and captain Marie Marajo-Breton against a very solid team like US Virgin Islands.

“Our captain got injured in our previous match and it was difficult for our girls today without her. But, I’m still proud of my players because they did well and this is just a result of four months of  preparation and training.

Lebel also congratulated US Virgin Islands for the win saying, “I think they had a good game plan and their attackers were very good.”,

An elated Isaac Raphael, coach of all the US Virgin Islands at the championship was full of praise for his players who he said showed great physical fitness and commitment.

“Some of our girls have doubled up in this tournament by playing in both age-groups and going into the match some of them were expectedly tired, but they were still able to come out and give off their best.

“It was also difficult to bring them down from the high of winning the Under-21 title, so overall for us to be among teams like Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago in winning the two gender titles at the same tournament is really very special, and says a lot for our program.”