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Bermuda into second round of qualifiers

Moving on: the women’s volleyball team are through to the next stage of World Cup qualifying

Bermuda’s women’s volleyball team advanced to the second round of World Cup qualifiers in St Maarten yesterday.

A come-from-behind victory over Anguilla secured the island’s passage safely through to the second round of qualifiers for the third consecutive time.

Bermuda bounced back from a shaky start after losing the opening set to take the match 23-25, 25-18, 25- 20, 25-16 as their compact game, sound defence and good serving took its toll on the opposition.

Allison Settle-Smith, the captain, and Khianda Pearman-Watson led the way for Bermuda with thirteen and fourteen points respectively.

“This is the third time in a row that the women have advanced to the second round,” Elisabeth Rae, the Bermuda coach, said.

Team Bermuda achieved its main objective despite getting their preparations off to a late start.

“We were only given two months notice on the timing of this event, which restricted our player availability,” Rae said. “As a result this is the first time this group of women have played together. Despite that fact, they have come together quickly and gelled as a team.

“The second round of the qualifiers is not scheduled to take place until the summer of 2017.

“The next round will see us up against bigger federations.”

Bermuda started the tournament off on the front foot on Saturday with a morale boosting victory 25-8, 25-17, 25-20 over the British Virgin Islands.

Outside hitter Khianda Pearmon-Watson led the charge with eleven points and also produced some solid defense as a new look Bermuda team blended with youth and experience got their tactics spot on capitalised on a series of errors by their opponents.

Bermuda were not as fortunate in their second match against hosts St Maarten as they suffered a 22-25, 25-15, 22-25, 23-25 loss in a close encounter that could have gone either way.

Bermuda and St Maarten were scheduled to face off again last night in the final of group A World Cup first round qualifiers in the Caribbean island.