Jamaica clinched historic Undefeated Caribbean Women title
PARAMARIBO, Suriname, July 30, 2023. Jamaica fought back to become for the first time Champions of the XVIII CAZOVA Caribbean Championship, and they achieved it with a five-set thriller 3-2 victory over defending champion Trinidad and Tobago (25-21, 13-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-13).
Jamaica secures the title undefeated, winning all their matches in the tournament. This was the second consecutive time that Jamaica beat Trinidad and Tobago in this event. For Jamaica is was their fifth final.
The five-set thriller began with a 25-21 score for Jamaica. The defending champion Trinidad and Tobago showed in the second and third set why they are eight-time champion winning it 25-15 and 25-23 respectively. The Jamaicans keep calm in the fourth set to forced a decisive fifth set with a 25-19 win. With that momentum Jamaica hold on to the fifth set which unfolded calmly, optimistically, and joyfully.
Trinidad and Tobago were superior in attacks with a significant difference of 50 to 48. Jamaica dominated in blocking (10-1) and serving (12-2). Jamaica earned 23 points from Trinidad and Tobago in unforced errors.
The top scorers for Jamaica were outside hitter Mychael Vernon with 26 points (15 on attacks, 2 on blocks, and 3 on serves), and her teammate, opposite and team captain Sashalee Thomas, contributed with 11 points from attacks and 3 on blocks, totaling 15 points. For Trinidad and Tobago, opposite Krystle Esdelle, a game and tournament high 40 points, all from attacks.
Sashalee Thomas, Captain of Jamaica: “Everything was going through our mind in the last set. This is what we play for. We wanted to stay undefeated. It was our main goal to beat them twice. Hopefully after this win and play it can show case that we do have a volleyball team that can compete. We need everybody behind us. Not only for track and field and football, but volleyball is here and we are to stay and make some noise the coming years.”
Ricardo Chong, Coach of Jamaica: “For sure this is a historic moment. We have to fight hard for it, but I am so glad we manage to get the results we wanted. I’m so glad we can bring home the title and I hope it will mean a lot for volleyball back at home. I told the group that I have dream about becoming champion with Jamaica two times in the past six months. And now it is here. I have no words to describe this feeling.”
Mychael Vernon, Outside hitter of Jamaica: “We have been training really hard and I think that the team chemistry made this possible. We have that bond for each other on and off the court. We fight for each other. We played for the team and that was a big part of our success. We scored the last point and tears came. This is an emotional moment for us. I am so proud and happy for the team.”
Saleem Ali, Coach of Trinidad and Tobago: “It was a good game. We fought till the end. Coming here was a little bit of challenge. We only had two players from the last team and I am proud of these women who could be playing the final. Credit to Jamaica. They played well.”
Kaylon Cruickshank, Captain of Trinidad and Tobago: “I am a little bit sad we let it slip away. I am proud of the performance of my team. We played till the end and we never give up. All I can ask for as a captain is to play hard.”