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Calypso Spikers target winning start
T&T senior women’s volleyball team will be confident of making a winning start to their Third Round of the 2018 FIVB World Championship qualification, the NORCECA Continental Women’s Pool C qualifiers against Dominica at the National Cycling Centre, in Balmain Couva from 7pm tonight.
Two hours earlier, Mexico and Costa Rica, the two other teams in the four-team group will serve off the three-day tournament, at the end of which the top two teams will earn tickets to next year’s FIVB World Championship.
Already this year, the national women’s team have created history by debuting at the FIVB World Grand Prix and following a sixth straight triumph at the Senior Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Championship, for their seventh title overall, the “Calypso Spikers” are now eager to put the ghost of failing to qualify last time out, with two chances to do so, to rest.
Four years ago, the T&T women came to within a win of securing a spot at the World Championship in Italy, but first fell to host Cuba in a group-decider after wins over Curacao and Haiti and then a few months later, T&T again stumbled in its final match, this time on home soil to Mexico after wins against Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.
However, this time around, team manager Susan Pierre is confident her players can get the better of their rivals and secure a first ever World Championship appearance.
Speaking on the eve of the competition, Pierre said, “The team is very confident of doings well. We had a few jitters to work out on the court and we have accomplished that.
“They are all focus on the one goal of qualification to the World Championships in Japan next year as reaching to this level of competition has been their goal ever since they started almost 12 years ago.
“We may have some new players in the team, but the overall goal has never been lost on the team.”
With regards to their opponents, Pierre said T&T has full respect for each team involved and will be taking it one match at a time.
Pierre was also happy to have Dominica present for the qualifiers after the devastation to the island by the passage of Hurricane Maria last month.
She added, “We weren’t sure if Dominica was going to come, and the girls came up with their initiative to show their appreciation and support to their team and we will be making some presentations during the tournament.”
Albert Loblack, coach of the Dominica team and President of the Dominican Volleyball Federation said its great being here after all his country has been through.
“It’s nice for us to get away, but being in this competition is also a new experience for us in the Third Round and we are looking forward to enjoying the chance at playing against these higher ranked teams for the first time.”
“We did not get much chances to prepare for this event because of the hurricane which destroyed most of our facilities, but in general we are very happy to be here.”Coach of T&T team Francisco Cruz said:
“This year has been a very competitive one for us, with important international tournaments and the team miss well prepared for this intense competition. I consider a strong possibility to qualify to the world championship, our hopes are high and we have faith in our players, I really expect things to go well”.
Meanwhile, Mushtaque Mohammed, President of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) and a former T&T Vollleyball Federation also expressed his delight.
Krystle Esdelle (captain), Jalicia Ross-Kydd (vice-captain), Renele Forde, Sinead Jack, Darlene Ramdin, Channon Thompson, Afeisha Olton, Kelly-Anne Billingy, Kiune Fletcher, Mikela Mc Gillvery, Latisha Morain, Afiya Alexander.
Mexico vs Costa Rica, 5pm
T&T vs Dominica, 7pm
Dominica vs Mexico, 5pm
T&T vs Costa Rica, 7pm
Dominica vs Costa Rica, 5pm
T&T vs Mexico, 7pm
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