Coaches optimistic about women’s U21 chances

PLEASANTVILLE, San Fernando, Trinidad, July 6, 2022 –  With reigning champions Barbados who lifted the title in 2019 in Martinique opting not to defend their titles the coaches of the participating teams at the 2021 Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association Junior Women (Under-21) Championship which gets underway at the Southern Regional Indoor Sports Arena on Thursday say they are all optimistic of claiming the crown.

In the absence of Barbados, host T&T who ended as runner-up in 2019 and have won the title six times, the last of which was in 2011/2012 will be keen to repeat on home soil their triumph of 205.

However, Suriname with a best finish of third in 2007, and US Virgin Islands with a best placing of second on home soil in 20211/2012 will also fancy their chances of claiming the coveted title in the three-team round-robin series at the end of which the top two will contest the gold medal match.

Speaking on the eve of the competition, the three coaches, Suriname’s Claudius Straal, Trinidad and Tobago’s Gideon Dickson and US Virgin Islands Isaac Raphael all expressed their views on their team’s chances.

Under-21 Women:

CLAUDIUS STRAAL (Suriname):  “Some members of the Under-19 team will be stepping up to play in the Under-21 competition as well so it will give the players some form of continuity and momentum as the tournament goes along.”

“We are basically looking forward to playing as much matches as we possibly can as during our competition at home we had the girls playing back-to-back matches and we believe we have selected the best possible group for us to have a good tournament.”

GIDEON DICKSON (Trinidad and Tobago): “It’s been basically two-and-a-half years for the players to be inactive and it has been unfortunate due to the pandemic. “At the same time fortunately we had the Development Festival which I believed served its purpose to resume the sport of volleyball and provide a based for the national teams selections as we have the talent.

“We intend to go into the tournament and focus on each match as they come as our intention is to win the competition and even though we had been inactive for such a long time, we are confident of putting our best foot forward and doing ourselves proud.”

ISAAC RAPHAEL (US Virgin Islands): “We had a very small preparation of two weeks with most of the sessions being held together with the Under-19 girls team, training twice per day and I am also excited to see what they can produce on the court.

“What I love about this group of players is that they are much more experienced than the Under-19s  and should be much better able to execute their game plans.I’m hoping that we can get to the gold medal match and take the top prize as we were third the last time the competition was held, but we are hungry for the title.”