The girls of St Catherine’s Academy came through undefeated to repeat as National High Schools Volleyball Champions for the fifth consecutive year, dominating the competition organized by the National Secondary Schools Sports Association and hosted by the Belmopan Baptist High School at the University of Belize Jaguar auditorium Friday and Saturday, November 9-10.
The SCA girls made short work of the southern regional champions, hitherto undefeated girls of Ecumenical High School in the finals.
MVP hitter Sherika Burton, Leandra Betson, Emily Evans and Karina Bernard led the SCA offensive scoring hits at the net on balls set by Xiomara Quan and Krystal Bevans.
Libero Hanna Diskin rotated into the game whenever SCA lost the serve, which was not too often. Even their setter Krystal Bevans got in four hits at the net, as the SCA girls dominated the first set 25-9.
Ecumenical’s Annyssa Sanchez and Carrie Bowman got in some hits at the net while Skylyn Bradley, Samira Coleman, Avery Sanchez and Opal Pineda helped rally the ball and did win points when SCA’s serves went out of bounds or into the net. Nayala Tun replaced Karina Bernard who in turn relieved Sherika, while Emily Evans replaced Betson, and Alexandra Smith took the court as SCA won the second set 25-13. Karen Quan and Gianna Brown took the court in the third set, which SCA dominated 25-10 to clinch the championship.
The SCA girls also dominated the northern regional champions, the girls of Muffles College in three sets in the opening game of the tournament last Friday afternoon.
Nayala Tun, Karina Bernard, Alexandra Smith and Gianna Brown led the SCA’s attack, hammering kills on plays set by Krystal Bevans and Xiomara Quan. Karen Quan relieved Xiomara as they took the first set 25-11.
Muffles’ Iriana Leiva, Adaia Tillett, Catherine Tan, Minelly Carillo, Nissha Westby and Claudina Davila did win some points, when the SCA girls made unforced errors, but Kayla Burrowes, Sherika Burton and Leandra Betson took the court to hammer the Muffles girls 25-6 in the second set.
Jaymie Torres and Gisel Lodge refreshed the Muffles’ line-up in the second set, while Irene Rodriguez, Mariely Flores and Kendra Petillo took the court in the third set.
Zakiya Young also reinforced the SCA formation, as Karen Quan, Alexandra and Nayala took the court to win the third set 25-10.
The Ecumenical girls toughed it out in four sets against the Western regional champions, the girls of Belmopan Comprehensive School (BCS) in Friday’s second game. BCS’s Deborah Cattouse, Kamil Salazar, Balyn Gordon, Ana Gonzalez, Juel Lewis and Danielle Gibson had kept the ball in play to win the first set 25-23.
Ecumenical’s libero led their defense and with the help of Bradley, Coleman, Bowman and the Sanchez sisters they took the next two sets 25-12, 25-18. Opal Pineda relieved Coleman in the fourth set, which they also won 25-18.
The Belmopan Comprehensive girls won the consolation game for third place over the Muffles girls in three sets on Saturday morning. Gordon, Salazar, Gonzales, Gibson and Cattouse had to go to extra points to win the first set 26-24. Muffles’ Leiva, Tillett, Tan, Carillo, Davila and Lodge tried to hang on, but the BCS girls took the second set 25-21 as Kaylene Flowers and Juel Lewis joined their attack and they dominated the third set 25-14.
The principal of Belmopan Baptist High School presented individual medals and team trophies to the champions, second and third place winners and the northern championship trophy to the Muffles College girls. SCA’s star attacker Sherika Burton received the Most Valuable Player award.
The SCA girls have represented Belize at the Central American junior Scholastic Games (CODICADER) for the past five years, winning the bronze medal this year and an individual gold medal. But this year’s champions will not have that honor, as there are no CODICADER Games scheduled for next year. It will fall to next year’s national champions to represent the jewel when Guatemala hosts the XVIII CODICADER Games in 2014.