United States considered favourites in NORCECA Men's Pool O
Colorado Springs, United States, May 14, 2014 - Coaches of the men's teams competing in the NORCECA World Championship Third-Round Qualification Tournament, being held May 15-18 in Colorado Springs, United States, feel strongly that the United States are strong favourites to win the FIVB World Championship berth.
They feel the real battle in Pool O may lie in who finishes second to the hosts to advance to the final NORCECA playoff round against the other three second-place teams in the third-round qualification stage.
The United States, who are ranked fourth in the world, received a bye directly into the third-round qualification tournament based on their ranking. Guatemala, St. Lucia and Haiti advanced to the third round as a result of progressing from the first and second qualification rounds.
Guatemala coach Alvinzi Pelaez said: “We have had five months in training. Our goal is second place as the USA are stronger than everyone else here. Guatemala won the second round group over Surinam. Here, St. Lucia will be very strong as well and this tournament is a game of preparation.”
Yves Larrieux, Haiti coach, said: “We basically are prepared physically and mentally. Our first goal is to qualify, but at the very least we want to get second place and go on to the next round. We started the first round in the Dominican Republic and finished second. We then finished second in the second round in St. Lucia. Now we are ready for the third round and with high expectations.”
For St. Lucia coach Kendell Charlery, the tournament ahead represents a great opportunity. “It is definitely a privilege to be here. This is the first time for us to get this far. The guys are ready and we will make the best of the opportunity. A successful tournament for us is to finish second as we know how good the USA are. But to finish second means we qualify for the next round.”
John Speraw, United States coach, confirmed the ambitions he has for his team. “Every opportunity to compete is an opportunity for us to get better in a competitive environment. How are we competing? How are we against our opponent and with our teammates? We’re excited to have this opportunity and curious to see what the other teams bring.”