Defending champions Saint Lucia overcame an injury to their captain and 2014 Most Valuable Player to win their opening match at the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Under-23 Netball Championship on Sunday night.
Playing in Basseterre, St Kitts-Nevis, the Saint Lucians were up 16-14 over Dominica in the opening quarter, when goal attack Iyanna Hippolyte was taken off with a back injury. She had scored eight goals from 10 attempts.
Hippolyte was replaced with teenager Kamala Mangal, who combined with goal shoot Joann Anderson to keep Saint Lucia ahead. At halftime, the champs were up 30-23, and they led 44-32 after three quarters, before winning 51-44.
Mangal made 37 of her 44 shots on goal, whilst Anderson contributed six from 15. Hippolyte was accompanied to the hospital by Saint Lucia Netball Association president, Liota Charlemagne Mason.
In other weekend matches, Montserrat were whipped by St Kitts-Nevis, 62-16, and Grenada, 66-8. Grenada also beat St Vincent and the Grenadines 39-34, whilst SVG in turn got the better of the home team, 50-40.
Action continues on Monday; Saint Lucia plays Montserrat, whilst Dominica goes up against St Vincent and the Grenadines. In evening, Grenada will play Dominica, and Saint Lucia will meet St Kitts-Nevis.
During the course of the opening ceremony on Saturday, Hippolyte read the players oath, and Saint Lucian umpire Genevieve St Croix read the officials oath.