St Lucia We Love” was the chorus line under maestro/player Gillian Octave, after St Lucia’s compelling victory over Haiti Sunday evening at the Beausejour Indoor Facility, propelled them to the top of Pool J of the second round of the NORCECA Zone of the 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championships Qualifications.
St Lucia playing before a small but enthusiastic audience defeated Haiti 3-1 (27-25, 25-13, 17-25, 25-20) to advance to the third round.
This step clears another pathway, as they quest to be among five from the NORCECA Confederation to head to Poland for next year’s grand finale.
Taking charge of the St Lucians’ score sheet on the night was once again the combination of Joseph Clercent who accounted for 24 points and Julian Biscette, who registered 18 points.
Haiti’s tally saw Emmanuel Fritz Emmanuel accounting for a match-high 28 points while Ralph Adolphe added 14.
A fired up Biscette also played another role. The usually reserved player, was the main cheerleader on the court with frequent shouts of motivation, when the Haitians were clawing their way back into the contest.
An overjoyed and triumphant coach, Kendall Charlery said: “There is nothing to describe the way I feel … We are excited and elated for this win, which takes us into the next round.”
Charlery praised the Haitians for being a formidable opposition, but thought the home team’s hunger for the title made the difference.
Meanwhile, Captain of the St Lucia team, Dayne Williams, believed that his team brought its best game on the night.
“It was a totally different St Lucia. St Lucia has worked too hard for too long for this, as it is the first time we are reaching the third round and we are happy,” an elated Williams exclaimed.
He pointed out that in the championship game, they were a unified bunch and that carried them through.
Prior to the final, El Salvador made quick work of St Kitts-Nevis 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-21).
In the awards ceremony that followed the final, St Lucia’s Clercent was named Most Valuable Player of Pool J, of the second round of the NORCECA Zone of the 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championships Qualifications. He also received the award for Best Server.
Clercent was not the only St Lucian to be singled out. Dayne Williams was named Best Blocker with 18, while Servin Mongro earned the award for Best Setter.
The other awards presented went to Emmanuel Fritz Mabou (Haiti), Best Spiker; Luis Morales (El Salvador) Best Digger; Teammate Carlos Amaya, Best Receiver; Kemoroy Percival, St Kitts Nevis, Best Libero.
President of the St Lucia Volleyball Association, Brian Louisy, who got showered not with praise but with a water cooler by his players said: “We did not play our best at the start of the competition, but warmed up to it as the tournament proceeded.”
The tournament took a heavy toll on the St Lucian team. One of their key players Amobi Armstrong sustained a severe foot injury, while Augustine Faulkner twisted his ankle and may be out of commission for a month.