Story by William Ysaguirre
Belmopan, November 12, 2022
The St Catherine’s Academy girls won their 13th consecutive National Secondary Schools Sports Association (NSSSA) volleyball championship, dominating the Orange Walk Technical High School girls 3-0 in the finals hosted by the Belmopan Comprehensive School, at the University of Belize gymnasium on Friday and Saturday, November 11-12.
MVP Nisaan Martinez, Blessed Omamurhe, Zanyah Hall, Hiam Safa and Akili Jones led the SCA attack, hammering kills on balls set by Lissany Castillo, and libero Zazil Marin took the court on defense whenever SCA lost the serve, as they dominated the first set: 25-10.
Jinae Riverol, Ahniyah Cocom and Elva Nunes rallied the Sugar City girls’ counterattack, with Rebekah Pettingale, Sudsana Castellanos and Elina Rosado helping to receive the ball, but their only points came by SCA’s errors. SCA’s Emma Solano came off the bench to serve aces with devastating effect, and Jayda Ferrera and Leayah August took the court, as the convent girls swept the 2nd set: 25-5.
Sara Hoare, Josefin Reyes and Andrea Ramirez reinforced the Sugar City defense in the 3rd set, but SCA’s coach Sherlene Johnson emptied her bench, and Isabel Mangal and Jazlene Leslie helped SCA win the 3rd set: 25-13.
The southern regional champions, the Toledo Community College girls, had to go 4 sets to win the consolation match for 3rd place over the Western regional champions, the Sacred Heart College girls. Jasmine Faber, Miriam Adebara, Delmi Ortega, Shania Garbutt and southpaw Bethany Choco scored hits at the net on plays set by Jaelyn Velasquez and libero Kayla Ramclam to take the first 2 sets: 25-17, 25-19.
Ilyn Cruz led the SHC counterattack, with Annilette Flores, Kayleigh Maldonado; while Nereine Valentine, Jaleeny Belisle and Lysanne Figueroa helped receive the ball. Avery Guzman, Angeline Lemus and Chelsea Flores came off the bench to help SHC win the 3rd sets: 25-22.
It seemed the Western girls might make it a 5-set duel, but TCC’s Kennisha Baki, Jaylene Lambey, Camrin Petillo, Jaycee Usher and Venice Parham took the court for TCC to prevail 25-18 in the 4th set.
The SCA girls had also dominated the TCC girls: 25-9, 25-15, 25-16 in the opening game on Friday afternoon, and the OWTHS girls also advanced to the finals by a 25-15, 25-22, 22-25, 25-18 win over the SHC girls in the 2nd match on Friday evening.
The NSSSA committee presented team trophies and individual medals to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners and the 4th place Sacred Heart girls also received a team trophy. SCA’s star hitter Nisaan Martinez received the Most Valuable Player award.