Oxley lifts Barbados past Curacao to start beaver-trick bid 

RIVIERE-SALEE, Martinique, December 8, 2019 - Team captain and Outside Hitter, Akeel Oxley led from the front as three-time reigning champions and five-time winners Barbados made a winning start to their campaign at the 2019 Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Junior (Under-21) Men Championship.

Playing in the opening match of the six-team competition and in Group C, Barbados came away with a 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-17, 25-15) defeat of a feisty Curacao at the La Ville Riviere-Salee Palais Des Sport in one hour and 31 minutes.

The contest was as close as the scoreline suggested as Barbados, previous champions in the inaugural competition in 1997 followed by 2005, 2013, 2015 and the last time it was held in 2017/18 season had to claw their way back from 4-8 and 15-18 deficits in the opening set, and 4-8 again in the fourth set before earning the win with Oxley being well supported by Raje Alleyne, to the relief of long-serving coach John Stuart.

Speaking after the entertaining contest which despite serving off 15 minutes late satisfied the appetite of the small crowd for what is expected to be a week of exciting volleyball, Stuart said he was very happy for his team to get the win against a good team.

“We played against a very consistent opponent and even though we were not at our best level, we are delighted to get the win.

 “The level of the match between both teams was very high and now we are looking at improving for our next match.

Oxley, the son of current Barbados junior women's coach, Patrickp Oxley said he too was delighted for the victory.

“Being the reigning “Most Valuable Player” it was important for me to come out and lead my team from the front, and we are just glad for the win against a very strong opponent”, stated the younger Oxley.

Joshua Van Henneigen, the captain of Curacao said his team did not make full use of the chances presented to them due to a lack of confidence.

“Even though we were facing a tough opponent we started well and then we wasted a lead and our confidence level dropped.”

Coach Henrich Daal added, “It’s not a shame to be beaten by the champions in your first match. We now see what level we have to be at to be the champions and we have a chance to come back in the next match with better preparation”