Sports — 20 January 2018 — by Jerome “Comogys” Williams
Belize team wins volleyball tournament in Merida

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Jan. 16, 2018 — Over the weekend of January 12th, 13th & 14th, two female volleyball teams left Belize and travelled to the City of Merida, Yucatan to participate in the 2018 “Copa Gracelobos Yucatan.”  The teams that represented the Jewel were Simon Quan Stars (junior team) and Moen Stars (senior team).

Some other Mexican teams/localities represented at the tournament included Tamaulipas, Mexico City, Veracruz, Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Tabasco, Cozumel ,Campeche and 5 teams from the Merida area, just to name a few.  The teams were then separated into 2 groups, which were then separated into sub-groups due to the amount of teams.

On Friday the 12th, the junior team (Simon Quan Stars) played Yucatan, winning, 25-17/25-11, and the senior team (Moen Stars) beat Maristas (Merida), 25-17/27-25.

On Saturday, the teams continued their winning ways, with the junior team beating Gacelas, 25-20/25-17; and the senior team trounced UADY (Merida East), 25-15/25-15, and, in the first back-to-back games of the day, they walloped Team Itzam-Na, 25-6/25-6, to win their sub-group and make it to second round. The junior team then followed suit, beating Cozumel, 25-20/25-18, and Campeche, 25-13/25-16, to do the same.

On Sunday, the teams played the second round of the group stage, where the senior team had to go 3 sets against Gacelas, 25-18/21-25/15-9, which put them in the semis. However, the junior team’s tournament ended in the second round when they fell to Veracruz, 17-25/20-25; but, if they had won, they would have had to face our senior team in the semi-finals, as they were placed in the same group, but as winners of the other sub-group. So that left our senior team to battle a seasoned Veracruz team in the semi’s, beating them, 25-23/25-21, which was one of the most exciting games of the tournament behind the championship game.

In the championship game, we faced a small but fierce Merida team. The game started off with Belize winning the first set, 25-14; but that made the Merida team more hyped up, as was evident in the second set, which started off by them scoring the first 10 points of the set. Our senior team rallied back a bit, but still ended up losing that set, 18-24. With our backs against the wall, and the determination of not wanting to lose after travelling all the way from Belize, and the motivation of head coach Lupita Quan of the 2017 Belize Interoffice Champion, SQ Dragons, the girls got the message. With tenacious spiking of Sherika Barton with settings from Karen Quan, the team was determined not to let the 3rd set be close. The serving of the final 10 straight points by Jashima Young cemented the 15-10 victory for the Moen Stars of Belize.

The games were played at 4 different venues, with the finals of both Men & Women being played at the beautiful, state-of-the-art Poliforum Zamna.

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