Medal joy for Bermuda juniors
The Bermuda Volleyball Association's junior programme returned from competing at the Mizuno Boston Volleyball Festival with a host of encouraging performances.
None more so than the under-12 girls' team who travelled back with a bronze medal after finishing third having lost three matches and winning two, under the guidance of coaches Mike Gazzard and Juanita Blee.
Bermuda's under-18 boys team, coached by Andrew Soares, Kevin Manuel and Gary LeBlanc, endured mixed fortunes but claimed two promising victories and gained valuable match experience in finishing 27th out 36 teams in the Club Division.
“The boys played very competitive volleyball while in Boston, successfully representing themselves and Bermuda,” said coach Soares.
“We wanted to utilise this tournament as a development opportunity for our boys. We took a younger, less experienced team, that is full of potential.
“For several players this was their first overseas tournament and for most only their second. It was great to see their confidence and belief in themselves and as a team grow as a tournament progressed.
Our hope and desire is at the next tournament those close games fall our way, with the experience gained in Boston. We are very proud of their efforts.”
Bermuda's under-18 girls faced some tough competition in their Club Division but competed strongly to progress through to the bronze bracket play-off, before missing out on a medal, ultimately finding a highly respectable 17th out of 44 teams.
“We had high hopes for this tournament and while we missed out on the bronze medal final. I am extremely happy with how the team performed,” said head coach LeBlanc.
“Our round robin results pushed us into a bracket that we've not been able achieve in the past so that was a first great step in the tournament.
“I'm very proud of this team and I look forward to the future.”
Another team who ended up fighting for play off positions was the under-15 competing in the Club Division.
However, after overcoming Husky 15 New England in close encounter, they went down in the next match losing against a strong United 15 team to finish 27th out of 60 teams. There was also a strong performance from the under-16 girls team, coached by to Allison Settle and Val Martins who claimed second place in the Bronze Bracket of the Club Division, finishing with a record of six wins and two defeats to finish an impressive 14th out 72 teams competing.
The girls played outstanding in every single game, including the two losses which both went to a tiebreaking set,” said Settle.
“They learnt to win under different circumstances, and they also learnt valuable lessons in losing. Every single player contributed to the success of the team.
“They exemplified teamwork and learnt to execute strategy, these skills will be a winning combination for them in the future.”