Valiant effort from national team stateside
Bermuda's Junior Boys National Volleyball Team returned home from the Mizuno Boston Volleyball Festival with their heads held high having earned their way into their age group's top division, having competed against the best teams from throughout the USA.
The festival, which took place from February 22-25, featured more than 700 teams in youth divisions for boys and girls. Bermuda's boys took part in the under-18 age group that included 68 teams.
On day one, the team started out by facing the top-seeded team in their division and lost by scores of 15-25 and 23-25. Their second game was played against the fifth-seeded team and this time Bermuda came away with a victory.
Team captain Connor Somerville says nerves played a part in the early stages but then the team settled down.
“The level of competition was intimidating at first, especially since many players were at least three to five inches taller than us,” he said. “However, realising we can play at their level gave us the confidence to play like we can and focus on our game and not be nervous.”
An early victory on day two resulted in the Bermuda team moving up into the top division for the rest of the festival where, head coach Denise Somerville conceded, the level of competition increased significantly.
“Day two was an extremely long day playing into the evening and despite the losses, the team's defence, blocking and serving was on point throughout the day,” she said.
On day three, the team lost their first game but managed to take the second game to a third set before going down in the final set 9-15. They ended the tournament with a record of five wins and nine losses placing seventeenth in their division.
“I am very proud of the boys and their performance in this tournament,” coach Somerville added. “It's rewarding as a coach watching the boys come together as a team and play their hearts out.
“We are all excited to train harder and work towards the next tournament in June.”
For the captain, the tournament showed that Bermuda has the talent to compete at a high level. “I just wish we could train five days a week like the teams we competed against,” he added. “Being the team captain is an honour and one I take very seriously.
While participating in the competition, players were able to showcase their skills to coaches and scouts from NCAA Division 1, 11 and 111 colleges and universities, who identify players with potential for athletic scholarships.