Volleyball teams begin worlds journey
Bermuda's men's and women's national volleyball teams will compete in the first round of qualifying for the 2018 World Championships this month in Dutch St Maarten.
This marks the third time Bermuda have participated in the World Championship qualifiers, with the women travelling to Phillipsburg for their group A qualifiers on August 6 and 7 against British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and hosts Dutch St Maarten.
In 2009 the Bermuda women's team won the first round qualifier in French St Martin, moving on to the second round where they lost to Trinidad, US Virgin Islands and Suriname. In 2012 they moved into the second round again, this time ending their run in Jamaica.
“There is a mixture of veterans and newcomers on the team which makes the team dynamics very interesting,” Elisabeth Rae, the women's head coach, said. “The ladies will need to be focused and work together to get a good result but that's true with any team sport.
“Our veteran players bring a wealth of knowledge and experience which will assist the younger players to develop positive competitive characteristics.”
The Bermuda men will compete in Grenada on August 20 and 21 and will be facing St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & Grenadines, and the hosts. This year's men's team highlights the progress that the Bermuda Volleyball Association has made over the years with its youth development programme, with the majority of the team having come up together through the junior ranks.
The core of the team that made the bronze medal match at the 2015 NatWest Island Games in Jersey last summer will be travelling to Grenada, led by captain Daniel Fiddick and with the welcome return of middle hitters/blockers Eron Woods and Brad Meindersma.
“As this wasn't an Island Games year, the men's team hasn't trained and competed abroad as much as we would like going into the qualifiers”, coach Jon Gazzard stated. “However, with the experience that this group of men have, I'm extremely encouraged by our chances of advancing to the second round.”