NORCECA Boys’ U19 Teams in Tulsa and Ready to compete
Tulsa, USA, July 13, 2014 – Seven teams will begin their quest to qualify for the 2015 FIVB World Championship on Monday at the NORCECA Boys’ Under-19 Continental Championship at the Cox Business Center Arena in Tulsa.
Pool play will commence with one pool of three and one pool of four. Pool A will include Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the host United States. Pool B will consist of Barbados, Cuba, Guatemala and Mexico. The top three finishers will qualify for the 2015 FIVB World Championship.
The last time the tournament was held in 2012, Cuba defeated Mexico in the final while the U.S. Boys finished third by defeating Puerto Rico.
On Sunday, each team’s coach gave their thoughts on the tournament.
Barbados Head Coach John Stuart Coach: “We are very excited to be here experiencing the higher level of competition. Our practice sessions were intense and we are hopeful to land a position in the top four.”
Cuba Head Coach Roberto Garcia: “This is a very important tournament because this is the first (international) competition for all the players. My team came here to try to qualify for the World Championship. There will be very strong competition from the USA, Puerto Rico and Mexico.”
Guatemala Head Coach Aldan Alvinzi Pelaez: “I want to congratulate USA Volleyball for sponsoring this event because it helps the development of the age group. At first I was expecting nine teams to compete and our goal was to finish second in our group. But now they have changed the group to four teams I am hoping to finish third and play in the next round. Knowing that Cuba and Mexico are going to be very strong, my objective is to finish in fifth place or higher.”
Mexico Head Coach Gabriela Isela Alarcòn Gomez: “Mexico has a young team with players starting their career in this kind of international event. But we also have the experience of some key players who know this level of competition and what we hope is that they can help the whole team to be united and develop a strong game needed for the international level. We expect an excellent performance of the team to classify to the U19 World Championship.”
Nicaragua Head Coach Osman Hernandez: “This is the second time we have competed in this age group. We expect to finish the same as last time or improve. And we have a lot of expectations for the development of our young athletes.”
Puerto Rico Head Coach Julio Ruvira: “We are trying to qualify for the World Championship. They have worked hard. They are reorganizing the boys’ program. They have big expectations with this group.”
USA Head Coach Ken Shibuya: “We’re very excited to be here for the NORCECA tournament. We hope to qualify for the World Championship next year. We are especially excited because we are competing in Tulsa. It is a very rare for us to be in the U.S. We’re hoping that this event will help promote and grow the sport in the state and in the region. We feel that we have a very talented team that will do a good job in this tournament.”