Volleyball - Women’s team book place in final | 26 July 2019
. Men’s team to play for bronze medal
The Seychelles women’s volleyball team are in the final of the 10th Indian Ocean Islands Games and are just one game away from defending their gold medal won in Reunion in 2015, while the men’s side will play for the bronze medal.
The country’s women’s team booked their ticket to the final after beating hosts Mauritius 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-22, 25-20) in the semi-final played yesterday evening at the Pandit Sahadeo Gymnasium in Vacoas.
As for the men’s team, they lost their semifinal encounter 1-3 (17-25, 26-24, 21-25, 20-25) to Madagascar, in a match which was played early in the afternoon.
It was celebration time for the women’s team at the whistle of the match which was also watched by the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth.
Manuella Monthy, Petra Richard, Atilla Bonnelame, Catrina Simon, Nayeli Etienne, Belira Jacqueline, Maya Biong, Petrina Victor, Genevieve Nicette, Hilary Nourrice, Angelique Adeline and Vanita Rose will now face Madagascar who edged Reunion 3-2 (25-21, 15-25, 13-25, 25-15, 15-13)
Coach Julien Onezime started the game with a first six of Biong, Adeline, Simon, Monthy, Victor and Richard as captain.
The two teams were at par level and the score stayed level at 13-13 to 19-19. Then Seychelles decided to press on the accelerator to win the first set 25-19.
The second set followed almost the same pattern as the first, but only this time it was the Mauritians who won 25-10 to level the score at 1-1.
More confident after winning the second set, the Mauritians came out stronger in the third set and led by a six-point margin. But Seychelles added an extra gear to level the score at 15-15, 16-16 and 17-17 and thereafter broke away to win the set 25-22 for a 2-1 advantage.
With victory in their grasps, the Seychelles team made six points in a row for a comfortable lead with Nicette at the service line in the fourth set. But the Mauritian side managed to bounce back in time to cut the lead to two points (11-9) and it was at that moment that Nicette picked up a finger injury to leave the court.
Seychelles regained the momentum again to lead in scoring but they slacked down in defence, allowing the Mauritians to cut the lead to just one point (21-20) as the noisy crowd tried to push them to get a win and force a fifth set. This was the best they could do though as the players of coach Onezime made the next four points to win the set 25-20 for a 3-1 victory.
“I knew the game was going to be a tough one, but the essential is done as we were well prepared. We have taken each step at a time, from the pool stage to the semifinal and we will continue on the same line for the final and we will see what we can bring for Seychelles,” coach Onezime said.
The Seychelles women’s volleyball team were drawn up in pool B against Reunion and Maldives. They beat Maldives 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-23) in their first game on July 21 and then lost 2-3 (14-25, 28-26, 18-25, 25-18, 11-15) to Reunion in the second game on July 23 to take second position in the group behind the latter who also beat Maldives 3-0.
Men lose to Madagascar
The men’s team comprising Adrian César, Corey Toussaint, Darren Young, Hendrick Cathene, Jean-Paul Mellie, Jean-Phillipe Vidot, Percy Riaze, Rodney Ah-kong, Sam Dine, Sarel Leon, Shaine Farabeau, Sylvestre César will now face Reunion in the bronze medal match tomorrow.
French coach Olivier Sauer said that the Seychelles team missed the services of Ian Furneau who could have helped turn the result in their favour.
“I am very frustrated we did not win as I know we could have done better. The team can’t handle pressure from their opponents just like in the match against Mauritius. We missed a strong technical leader at the net and everybody know who we are talking about. As I am here I will be the first to acknowledge whom we have missed on the team and it is no other than Ian Furneau. He is the only player we missed on the team and no one else. With him around we knew what to expect,” said coach Sauer who noted that Furneau was called to the national team but did not respond to the call for reasons only known to him.
The first six players on the court – Cathene, Toussaint, Farabeau, Ah-kong and Cesar and captain Riaze – started slowly in the first set but managed to keep pace with their opponents as they were level 4-4, 5-5, 6-6 and 9-9. After that, Madagascar led all the way to win the set 25-17 after 22 minutes.
Seychelles again started slowly in the second set even though they were level at 5-5 and 6-6 early on. Madagascar broke away and maintained the lead as Seychelles rose their game to close the gap to one point (23-22) and then take the lead at 24-23. Madagascar leveled the score at 24-24 and a block from Ah-kong and Young gave Seychelles a one-point lead (25-24) and they got another block from Young and Leon to win the set 26-24 as Seychelles drew level at 1-1.
After staying level at 6-6 and 7-7, Madagascar were again in control in the third set as they maintained the lead all the way until Seychelles drew level at 19-19 with an ace from Toussaint. But the Malagasy team responded and won the set 25-21 for a 2-1 lead.
Seychelles had to keep chasing the score in the fourth set and although they applied some little pressure towards the end, it was not enough as Madagascar booked their place in the final with a 25-20 fourth set win.
The Seychelles men’s team will now face Reunion for the bronze medal tomorrow. Reunion were edged 2-3 (22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 27-25, 10-15) by Mauritius in the other semifinal.
Coach Sauer though praised the performance of the young team and said he expects better results from them in four years from now.
The men’s team drawn in pool A against Mauritius and Mayotte beat the latter 3-1 (25-17, 25-14, 20-25, 25-16) in the first match played on July 22 and lost 1-3 (18-25, 25-18, 11-25, 13--25) to Mauritius in the second game played on July 23 to take second position in the pool behind hosts Mauritius who beat Mayotte 3-0 in their first game.
Text and photos Patrick Joubert in Mauritius