Volleyball: Seychelles’ Arsu and Reunion’s St Denis emerge winners of the CAVB Zone 7 Club Championship
Seychelles Arsu, the newly crowned champion of the tournament proudly display their trophy. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles’ women team Arsu and St Denis Olympique from the French overseas department of Reunion on the men’s side are the proud winners of the Confederation of African Volleyball’s Zone 7 Club Championship which ended yesterday.
The final matches were played late yesterday afternoon at the Seychelles international sporting venue, the Palais des Sports, on the outskirt of the Seychelles capital of Victoria.
Arsu managed to dethrone the reigning champions, Reunion’s St Denis Olypmique, after winning the final match 3-1, the set scores reading 18-25, 25-18, 25-16 and 25-17.
This is the 8th time that the team hailing from the southern part of the Seychelles main island of Mahé has won the regional championship having emerged as the winner in 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Arsu and St Denis Olympique had already met in the group stage of the competition which was won by the Seychelles team on the final score of 3-0.
In the final match yesterday, the outgoing champion took the lead by winning the first set 25-18 but their game faded in the sets that followed allowing Arsu, powered by the tournament’s Most Valuable Player on the women's side, Marielle Bonne, to turn the tide around and win the following three sets as the large number of Seychellois supporters cheered on.
Asked about the first set, Arsu’s captain Jerina Bonne told SNA “We played cautiously initially thinking our opponent would implement new strategies, given our previous encounter.”
“But once we had figured there were no new threats, there was no looking back.”
Arsu’s Avril Houareau was voted the ‘best passer’ while St Denis Olympique’s Marian Gaeelle gave a stand out performance to win three individual titles.
She was voted the tournament’s best defender, best libero and best receiver.
Her colleague Aurelie Pausé won the prize for best server, which goes to the player with the most number of service successfully completed.
Speaking to sports journalists of the national television, the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), St Denis Olympique’s captain Roxanne Pause said they were satisfied with the second place finish although they would have loved to beat Arsu adding that the Seychelles team was too strong.
|Reunion' St Denis replaces Seychelles' Beau Vallon as the champion of the tournament. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY-NC|
The men’s final was an all-out war between two old adversaries from the Indian Ocean island of Reunion and St Denis proved tougher than Tampon as they brushed aside their colleagues' challenge for a 3-0 (25-22, 25-18 and 26-24) win.
Tampon was not strong enough to outclass St Denis as it did Seychelles’ Beau Vallon in the semifinals on Saturday.
Beau Vallon, the outgoing champion of the tournament had to fight for a third place finish against Faucon Flacq Camp Ithier from Mauritius yesterday morning winning the match 3-1.
Steve Cholet, the coach of the newly crowned champion of the Confederation of African Volleyball’s Zone 7 Club Championship on the men’s side, St Denis, described the tournament as a “great competition that represents a lot for the team.”
Four of St Denis’ players were individual prize winners.
Kevin Ces was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and best receiver, Cedric Narayanin was voted the best libero and defender; Patrice Faure finished as the tournament’s best blocker, while Ludovic Boyer received the prize for being the best sever.
Over eight days, teams from Mauritius, Madagascar, the Comoros, Reunion and the Seychelles played a total of 38 matches with the teams fighting it out in a league format competition initially, before playing out a knock-out round in the latter stages for a place in Sunday’s finals.
The tournament was additionally a qualifier for the African club championship. Arsu, that emerged as the winner of the tournament as well as the Zone 7 Champion qualifies to play at Africa’s most prestigious club volleyball tournament scheduled annually. On the men’s side while St Denis emerged the winner of the tournament, Reunion is not a member of the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) which means Seychelles’ Beau Vallon is the Zone 7 champion and qualifies for the African club Championship.