U-19 volleyballers hoping for top-three spot
After completing a one-week camp at the G.C.Foster College for Physical Education and Sports, Jamaica's under-19 volleyballers left the island for the NORCECA Championship set for June 24 to 29 in Havana, Cuba, full of hope of a top-three finish.
The young Jamaicans will play their opening game against Mexico tomorrow then face Cuba on Saturday. They'll play their final group game against Antigua and Barbuda on Sunday. Group A consists of the USA, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.
The group winners advance automatically to the semi-finals, while the second- and third-place teams from each group will play off for the other two semi-final places.
Coach Steve Davis believes that the Jamaicans have prepared well and is confident that they will do themselves and their country proud.
"We are going to the NORCECA under-19 qualifiers in Havana, Cuba. We started the journey last year when we won the Caribbean championship, and we have been training on and off, but we just completed a one-week training camp at G.C.Foster and the boys are in good spirits, and we are as prepared as time allowed us. We are hoping to at least qualify for the championship by finishing at least third," he said.
"It will be tough as we have the likes of the USA, Mexico, the Dominican Republics and Cuba, but I think we are going to make a good impression so our nation can be proud of us. We know Cuba. They will be tough, Mexico is a good team, but I don't know about Antigua and Barbuda, but I am hoping we can come out of this group and go to the quarter-finals and see where it takes us from there," he added.
Davis said he used the week-long camp to iron out some of the weaknesses they had detected and he was confident that they are heading into the tournament in good shape.
"We just tried to get them to be a team and to support each other (at camp). We are a bit weak in certain areas, so we focused a lot on those areas and we played a lot of practice games against Venus, which is a fast, power team, so we hope that will help us," Davis said.
"These guys are coming from schools all across the island, but we are well prepared for the time we had with them, and we are going to give a good account of ourselves," he stated.
The squad reads: Devonte Bennett, Jovan Thomas, O'neil Daley, Safon Manning (St Jago), Dauntae Smith, Clifton Clarke, Shamar Thomas (Camperdown), NGozi Thompson, Shavar James (Mannings), Javere James (Frome), Jermaine Matthews (Oracabessa) and Andrew Jones (Canada).