Santa Cruz, Aruba, November 27, 2016 - Suriname remained unbeaten to capture the gold medal in the CAZOVA Group B qualifying tournament for the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on Sunday.
However, the highest ranked team in the round-robin tournament dropped their only set of the two days in disposing of last-placed Aruba 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-13, 25-19) in the sixth and final match of the pool in 93 minutes.Quick links - Volleyball:2018 Women's World Championship qualification process set to continue in Aruba
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Suriname, ranked fourth in CAZOVA, had been assured of the title even before the encounter as they had defeated Haiti and Martinique in their other two matches.
Martinique, at the rear of the field with a ranking of 12, had nosed out No. 7 Haiti in a nail-biting do-or-die five-setter just before for the silver medal and will join Suriname in the second round.
Aruba finished winless from their three matches, but they must have felt that they could have come away with two victories and advanced had they not squandered several sizeable leads at crucial times against both Haiti and Martinique. Still, the tenth-ranked team managed to do what the other two couldn’t and captain Jackie Toussaint acknowledged that: “We were the only ones who could take a set from Suriname and we did a good job pushing them."
"Suriname is a very good team. I’m happy we were able to give them good competition after two losses,” said Aruba coach Daan Kleinbussink.
“We got the ending we came here for. We came to win the tournament and I’m so thankful and proud of the team,” said Suriname captain Cheryl Brunings, while her coach admitted: “It was hard for us, but we made it and I’m very happy.”
This was the final of three qualifying groups in the first round of the zone. Curacao and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) advanced from Group A in St Croix in early August, while Guadeloupe and Bahamas booked their tickets two weeks ago in Grand Cayman from Group C.
The second round will take place in July 2017 in Jamaica and will also include automatic qualifiers Trinidad and Tobago and hosts Jamaica, ranked first and second in CAZOVA, respectively.
The 2018 edition of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship will be contested in Japan and NORCECA will have six qualifiers, plus defending champions the United States.