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
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
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.