By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
St. Thomas’ men’s Volleyball team Bang Dem, created history on Saturday by becoming the first U.S. Virgin Islands team to participate in the history of the league—winning their two games in straight sets.
Bang Dem kicked off play with a 25-20, 25-23 and 25-22 victory over the Gunz. Alvaro deLugo IV had seven kills, four digs and two aces while Leon Smith followed with seven kills and Ted Fahie contributed six kills and two blocks. Paul Mourillon registered five kills, two blocks and three digs for Gunz with Trevor Burell adding three kills and four blocks.
“We decided as a group—we are all on different teams in the Power League in St. Thomas—we want to build our play and get more experience so we decided to try and participate in the BVI league this year,” Gregory Thorp explained. “We’re really looking forward to it and it was a couple of fun games and I’m glad we managed to pull it off.”
In their second match against Raw Power, Bang Dem walked off 3-0 winners, 25-17, 25-17 and 25-18. De Lugo had 11 kills, six digs and two blocks; Smith five kills and seven digs; Fahie 10, kills, one block and two aces while Marlon Richardson had 12 digs.
“I think we were just tired,” Thorp said of the opening game. “We started kind of slow, but played decently. This last game was more on the level I’m expecting from everyone on the team. We were hitting and playing defense, but, the hits you saw in the second game, they weren’t there in the first game—we were flat.”
In the second game, they approached it with a more serious attitude Thorp said and their coach asked them to do better. They also changed the lineup a bit he noted.
“We moved our setter and changed our libero and it definitely made a difference in the play,” he stated. “Our libero didn’t miss a pass—except one and he’ll be buying us drinks for that one.”
The overall aim of playing in the league, Torp noted, is to build the national team and get to play in more international tournaments and possibly get into Olympic Games qualifying tournaments.
“I think about 6-8 years ago, they actually were like one game away from the qualifying tournament and then it just fell off from there,” he pointed out. “We really want to build the club team back and feed it into the USVI Volleyball Federation and get more experience playing in more tournaments against a higher level of play.”
Raw Power’s Al-Quamin Nibbs said they played their best but there are some plays they have to tighten up on to shore up their defense. “They definitely showed up our blocking tonight,” Nibbs said. “I think that’s one of the core issues we have to address in order to shut them down totally.”
Saturday night kicked off with the Jr. Women rolling over new comers Vixens, 3-0, 25-12, 25-18 and 25-11.
Action kicked off on Friday night with defending women’s champs Phoenix Red a 3-1 winner over Raw Power, 25-21, 25-22, 24-26 and 25-16. In the men’s game, defending champs Just Dream beat Raw Power, 25-16, 25-17 and 27-25.