Trinidad and Tobago May not be in the final, but that doesn’t mean their tournament is over. The men and women dress up to play one more game, the 3rd place play-off against Puerto Rico on Day 4 of the NORCA Beach Handball Championships in Saith Park, Chaguanas.
Ladies first as usual as Trinidad and Tobago took on Puerto Rico in the first 3rd place play-off. Two very evenly-matched teams with similar performances throughout the tournament up until their semi-final games yesterday.
It was a low-scoring affair as both team’s defensive units were not letting much shots get past them. The defensive wall of Shanice Allen, Dellice Guada and Amirah John were bothering Puerto Rican shot-takers, and goalie Whitney George kept her goal clean in pivotal moments of the game. On offense, it was the usual suspects of Tiffany Anthony (2 goals), Lordiah Matthews (3 goals), and Cristine Villafana (2 goals) scoring the goals for T&T in the first period. Shanice Allen also scored the first goal of the game in the first period. T&T won the first period 15-14.
The 2nd period kept the same energy, with scoring at a premium with the defenses playing at a high level. Tiffany Anthony seemed to have picked up a shoulder injury but it didn’t keep her out of the game. Two clutch goals down the stretch for her with Matthews and Allen scoring 3 and 1 respectively, helped locked down 3rd place for the Trinidad and Tobago women’s team in the 2nd period with the score of 14-13.
In the men’s 3rd place play-off, Trinidad and Tobago were looking to replicate the success of their sisters and looked like the stronger side in the first period. Derice Biggart had a strong showing with 4 goals, followed by Sherwin Jackson with 3 of his own. Goalie Noel Cummings limited the Puerto Rican attack to 10 goals and even scored one for himself. Hayden Mitchell (2 goals) and Mikhall Walker (1 goal) would cap off a 22-10 first period win for T&T.
But Puerto Rico would find a second win and came back to dominate the 2nd period, just like what T&T did to them in the first. Jackson (2 goals), Stephawn Solomon, Biggart and Mitchell (1 goal each) provided the goals, but the defense was overwhelmed. Puerto Rico would force a shoot-out with a score of 20-11.
The shoot-out would start with both sides making big defensive plays and then the flood gates would open with each side trading goals. Coming down to a one goal play-off, Puerto Rico would move ahead by one point, with T&T needing a 2-point goal to take 3rd place. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. A traveling violation negated the attempt, giving Puerto Rico the 3rd place finish. T&T would have to settle for 4th.
In the men’s and women’s finals, it was all USA, sweeping both finals games in two tightly contested games against Mexico. The women’s team took home gold winning 18-14 and 16-14 in two periods. The Men would do the same, taking it in 2 periods with a score of 21-20 and 22-20 respectively. By winning the tournament, USA would have qualified for the World Beach Handball Championships in Italy in 2020.