Trinidad & Tobago serious rivals to Cuba in NORCECA Pool Q
Havana, Cuba, May 12, 2014 – The athletic and tall girls from Trinidad and Tobago look like the major obstacle for the favourites and hosts Cuba as the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 Qualification Tournament NORCECA Pool Q gets underway at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum in Havana on Wednesday.
The home team is one of five NORCECA countries with direct tickets to the third and final round of the NORCECA qualification process due to their high position in the continental ranking. The Cubans are currently in third place (21st in the world) behind United States and the Dominican Republic and ahead of Puerto Rico and Canada.
Curacao (no world ranking) and Haiti (ranked 62nd in the world), ranked 26th and 27th in NORCECA respectively, complete the four-team field that will compete under a round-robin format before the teams ranked first and second will then play for the top place and a ticket to the Italy in September.
The Trinidadians, eighth in NORCECA and 31st in the world, have made steady progress during the last few years and currently are considered the strongest team in the Caribbean area.
In 2012 they won FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship Italy 2014 Qualification Tournament NORCECA first round Pool A with victories over the Bahamas, Guadeloupe and hosts Suriname with the captain Krystle Esdelle voted as the Most Valuable Player and Best Spiker.
Playing at home in 2013 in the second round, the Trinidadians brushed aside teams from Barbados, Honduras and Anguilla in Pool I with their emerging star Channon Thompson named Best Scorer, Best Spiker, Best Server to go along with the MVP honors.
In spite of that, Cuba’s coach Juan Carlos Gala is confident about clearing the hurdle in front of them with a young squad he has been preparing since last year in anticipation to this competition.
“They have improved from one year ago to where we are now, especially in the technical, tactical and psychological aspects,” Gala stated.
Based on their experience in previous international events, Gala is expected to go with a lineup consisting of middle blockers Rosanna Giel (captain) and Alena Rojas, outside hitters Jennifer Alvarez and Sulian Matienzo, setter Yamila Hernandez, libero Emily Borrell and the 14-year-old sensation Melissa Vargas as opposite.
“It is going to be a demanding competition, especially because some of the Trinidad and Tobago players have had the experience of playing in the European Leagues of Russia, France and Poland,” Gala said. “But I am confident about our chances of claiming the ticket.”
Last year Curacao won Pool J with an undefeated record playing host to St Lucia, Antigua and Belize with the US based Christine Anthony claiming the Best Scorer and Best Spiker awards along with the MVP title. One year earlier they finished second to US Virgin Islands in the Pool C event held in St Croix.
Haiti finished third in Pool C and improved to second place behind Panama in Pool N the following year.
FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 Qualification Tournament NORCECA Pool Q match schedule
15:00 Haiti v Trinidad and Tobago
17:00 Cuba v Curacao
15:00 Trinidad and Tobago v Curacao
17:00 Cuba v Haiti
15:00 Curacao v Haiti
17:00 Cuba v Trinidad and Tobago
15:00 Third Place v Fourth Place
17:00 First Place v Second Place