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T&T’s Esdelle cops two Pan Am awards
Krystle Esdelle, T&T senior women’s volleyballer picked up two individual awards at the conclusion of the 2018 Women’s Volleyball Pan American Cup at the Ricardo Arias Pavilion, Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic on Saturday night.
A former T&T captain, Esdelle, 33, was named as the ‘Best Opposite’ and ‘Best Scorer after she tallied 97 points over the course of the tournament, with a best of 25 in a four-set win over Costa Rica in the 11th spot playoff on Friday afternoon.
By capturing the award, Esdelle who plays professionally in Turkey, joined fellow national women’s team players Darlene Ramdin and Sinead Jack as national players to pick up individual accolades at a top NORCECA or Pan American Cup event, while Marc Honore is the lone national men’s player to have done so.
However, Estelle is the first to have picked up two awards in the same event at the level.
Lauren Carlini, whose wonderful abilities as a setter and leadership qualities helped the USA to win the 17th edition of the competition was named the Most Valuable Player.
Besides her plaque as ‘MVP’ Carlini received the award as ‘Best Setter’ while team-mate Chiaka Ogbogu was selected as ‘First Middle Blocker’. Colombian Melissa Rangel was the ‘Second Middle Blocker’.
Brenda Castillo of Dominican Republic was ‘Best Digger’, ‘Best Receiver’ and ‘Best Libero’.
Brayelin Martínez of Dominican Republic and Elina Rodríguez of Argentina were included in the All-Star as first and second ‘Outside Hitters’ respectively, and Kiera Van Ryk of Canada was the ‘Best Server’.
In the gold medal match, the USA came back all the way down from a 0-2 deficit to defeat host Dominican Republic 3-2 (24-26, 21-25, 25-21, 25-19, 15-8) in front of a packed house.
It is the sixth title for the USA in the history of the competition with the previous titles attained in 2003, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
The winners established a solid defence at the net which allowed them to score 17 blocks, including seven by Chiaka Ogbogu.
Aiyana Abukusomo-Whitney and Ogbogu blasted 27 and 21 points to lead the American attack (65-51) while Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington added 15 and 14 in the triumph.
Canada claimed its second medal ever after defeating Brazil 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-21) in the match for the bronze medal on Saturday. The Canadian squad had won also the bronze in the inaugural event back in 2002 when the competition took place in Saltillo, Mexico.
Colombia played Puerto Rico in a mouth-watering five-setter 3-2 (25-15, 22-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-12) to claim the fifth spot and the last ticket available at the Pan American Cup to next year’s tournament of the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
And Cuba defeated Peru 25-23, 38-40, 25-11, 25-22 in the contest for the seventh position.
The second set of 78 points was the longest ever in the history of the Pan American Cup breaking the one established in 2009 when Puerto Rico won the first set against the Dominican Republic in Miami, USA back on July 3.
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