International teams taking on island’s best
The Bermuda Volleyball Association's annual international indoor tournament, the Bermuda Open, started yesterday with a strong field of teams domestically and from overseas.
The tournament, which features teams from Canada, the United States and Bermuda, in both men's and women's divisions, is being hosted at Warwick Academy and runs through until Saturday.
The women's division will feature Mt Allison University from Canada along with Bermuda's senior and junior national teams, as well as a national alumni team.
Elisabeth Rae, the senior women's coach, has reflected on the importance of such domestic events.
“The Bermuda Open is a valuable opportunity for Bermuda's teams to compete and gain match experience,” she said.
“This is what our ladies have been working for and will serve as a building block for the US Open.”
Meanwhile, Gary Leblanc, the junior girls' head coach, spoke of her excitement of playing in front of a home crowd.
“We're very excited to play in the Bermuda Open,” Leblanc said. “This tournament will be the last tournament of our long season and we look forward to playing in front of the home crowd. We feel that this has been our most successful season to date, so we will give it our all and hope to do well.”
The men's division will feature an American team from Baltimore, Maryland, along with Bermuda's senior and junior national teams, as well as a national alumni team.
The junior boys team head coach Denise Somerville is also looking forward to the event.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the junior boys' national team to be able to compete on home soil and more importantly in the Bermuda Open for the very first time,” she added.
“They have been working and training very hard and are looking forward to being able to show case their skills and passion for the sport despite being the only junior team in the tournament.”
The boys' team will use the Bermuda Open as a lead up to the AAU 2019 Junior Boys Volleyball Championships in Orlando, Florida, in June.
The Bermuda men's national team will also be competing. The team includes many Bermudian athletes who have progressed through the junior programme to now represent the senior side.
“Our team will be led by Keiran Hamilton and Eron Woods,” said Bill Bucci, senior men's team head coach.
“This competition is an opportunity for our team to continue learning how to work as a team, trust in themselves and their team-mates and execute the skills we have been working so hard on since September. We are excited about the chance to compete.”
The event will also feature overseas referees who will mentor the island's local officials to help them develop further.
Bermuda Open matches will be streamed live on the BVA's website at www.bva.bm/bermuda-open-2019-stream