It has been a struggle for the Venezuelan Women's National Team to get where they are now, namely at their first-ever Olympic Games.
Along the way of a four-year program to prepare for the Beijing Games, there were tough times. Many Venezuelan Volleyball players have a tendency to migrate or drop out at the early stages of the training process.
The fact that this group has stuck together pays testament to their youthful spirit.
Venezuela have developed an impressive amount of fight in their play over the last couple of years and this bore fruit at the South American Olympic qualifier in Lima, Peru at the start of this year.
Venezuela beat the home team in the last game of the tournament to clinch their Beijing berth, prevailing against Peru 3-2 (25-22, 25-27, 25-22, 22-25, 15-12). In that game, players such as captain Jayce Andrade impressed and it was Yessica Paz who was the hero with a perfect block to clinch the match in front of 6,000 Peruvian fans.
In the first set the visiting team led the score most of the time, with a great performance of the spikers. Venezuela easily scored 23-16 but, with the help of the crowd, Peru made less mistakes and scored a lot of points, till 22-24. Despite Peruvians efforts, Andrade closed the set 25-22.
In the second set the two teams put up a fight point by point and both teams played very good Volleyball. The teams often exchanged the leadership of the match until the scored reached 25-25. Peru won 27-25 and kept believing in the victory.
The story of the third set was similar to the first one. Venezuela confidence kept growing and the visiting team led the score 13-8. Peru tried to react, and tied 13-13. The match continued with an exciting 20-20 draw, but Venezuela was very comfortable and closed the set 25-22.
Peru returned on the court acting more offensive. The spikers showed a good technique and brought their team ahead of the set. But soon, Venezuela reacted and won 25-22 taking the game to the tie break, which Paz clinched.
A combination of discipline and training have sculpted the strength of the Venezuelan team. With a tall squad and a young average age, they are in a good position to be a dominant team in South America over the coming years.
The achievement of reaching the Olympics is another boost for the team and with nothing to lose on their first outing they may spring a few surprises.