Group I women coaches seek top two finish


ST AUGUSTINE, Trinidad: May 24, 2013, With Curacao and St Lucia having already secured their passage to the Third Round of Qualification to next year’s FIVB Women’s World Championships in Italy from their Group J series held earlier this month, four more teams will begin their quest for two more places this weekend in Group I.


Group I of the Second Round NORCECA qualifiers involving Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association champions for the past four tournaments, host T&T, ranked seventh in NORCECA, 13th ranked Barbados, 18th rated Honduras and  22nd ranked Anguilla, do battle on Saturday May 25 and Sunday May 26 at the  University of the West Indies Sports and Physical Educational Center, Tacarigua from 9am daily.


The four-teams will contest a round-robin series at the end of which the top two will booked their tickets to the Third Round of world qualifiers, and also play in the group gold medal match on Sunday night while the two remaining teams will meet in the third place encounter, with the winner, still in with a chance of qualification for the next round.


Speaking on the eve of the tournament, three of the coaches present (Anguilla arrives on Friday night due to delay in Antigua) all said they were confident of staking a serious  claim for a top two finish, despite a few challenges encountered during their preparations.


Marvin Ulloa, coach of the Honduras, said, “From the three other teams in the group we have only seen the T&T women play at other NORCECA competitions and know what they are capable of, but for the two other teams  in the group all we have is the knowledge of where they are based on the rankings.


He also stated this team’s preparations was not completely what they had hoped while only nine players were able to make the journey to Trinidad, leaving behind their main  setter and libero .


“ So we had to make a few adjustments over the last couple of weeks  and  now its left to be seen how well they work,”  added Ulloa.

Andrew Brathwaite, coach of the Barbados pointed out his team is currently in a rebuilding stage and tournaments like these will provide his coaching staff  a chance to determine where they are in terms of  overall  development.


“At the same time we are still aiming at qualifying out of the group as we intent to play hard his team’s build-up to the qualifiers has not gone all that smooth as our captain Thonya Joseph, suffered an injury which forced her out of the team.


"In addition our overseas-based trio of Anicia Woods, Shari Matthews and Dianne Smith only joined the team a few days ago and did not had much time to train with us, so we will be playing together for the first time as unit for the first time in quite a while when we play our first match.".

Cuban-born Francisco Cruz, coach of T&T squad said his team enters the tournament with only one option which is to win.

“We want to get  to the Third Round and I hope we don’t have any problems in doing so. We know its not going to be easy, but the girls have worked very hard and I expect good results,” said Cruz.


Following the preliminary inspection of the tournament facility, Mushtaque Mohammed, president of CAZOVA and Head of the Control Committee was high in praise for the host’ venue which he described as being an excellent one.


“The venue is of world class standard and also the first one in the region with a taraflex flooring surface which will provide a great playing condition for the athletes.”


Daymian Stewart, President of the T&T Volleyball Federation said the main objective of the federation in hosting the qualifying group was firstly to help raise the profile of the sport in the country and second to showcase the high quality of volleyball being played by the local women’s team.


As for his own expectations, Stewart said its for the T&T women to win the group and qualify for the next round as he believes the team has a great chance to get to Italy.


“Realistically I see the T&T women team reaching the playoff round of second placed teams  in the qualifiers and from there finishing among the top two and getting to Italy,” he ended.