U.S. Men and Women Favorites in NORCECA Qualifiers
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 14, 2014) – Both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball Teams are heavy favorites according to the coaches leading their countries in their respective gender NORCECA World Championship Qualification Third-Round Pool O Tournaments being held May 15-18 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The U.S. Women open pool play on May 15 against Guatemala, followed by Panama on May 16 and Honduras on May 17. All three U.S. pool matches are scheduled for 3 p.m. MT. The women's medal round matches take place on May 18 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. MT.
The U.S. Men's will play at 7 p.m. MT during pool play with matches against St. Lucia on May 15, Guatemala on May 16 and Haiti on May 17. The men's medal round matches take place on May 18 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The winner of each gender tournament will advance to their respective 24-team FIVB World Championship. Daily passes for both the men’s and women’s tournaments are $10, while event passes for all four days is $30.
All matches will be streamed live and available on the event landing page.
Quotes from Men’s NORCECA World Championship Qualification Tournament
United States Head Coach John Speraw: “Every opportunity to compete is an opportunity for us to get better in a competitive environment. How are we competing? How are we against our opponent and with our teammates? We’re excited to have this opportunity and curious to see what the other teams bring.”
Guatemala Head Coach Alvinzi Pelaez: “We have had five months in training. Our goal is second place as USA is stronger than everyone else here. Guatemala won its second round group over Surinam. Here, St. Lucia will be very strong as well and this tournament is a game of preparation.”
Haiti Head Coach Yves Larrieux: “We basically are prepared physically and mentally. Our first goal is to qualify, but at the very least we want to get second place and go on to the next round. We started the first round in Dominican Republic and finished second place, then finished second place in the second round at St. Lucia. Now are ready for the third round and with high expectations.”
St. Lucia Men’s Head Coach Kendell Charlery: “It is definitely a privilege to be here. This is the first time for us to get this far. The guys are ready and we will make the best of the opportunity. A successful tournament for us is to finish second as we know how good the USA is. But to finish second means we qualify for the next round.”
Quotes from Women’s NORCECA World Championship Qualification Tournament
United States Head Coach David Hunt: “This team is young, but they have put in a lot of work in our Winter Training Block. They are hungry to play against competition other than themselves in Red-Blue scrimmages. For a lot of these players, this is their first chance to play for USA at the senior international level. Being this is my first tournament serving as a head coach, I am probably just as excited as they are and I am really excited for this group.”
Guatemala Head Coach David Aldana: “For the last five months we have not had much preparation, just training with our men’s team and not much match preparation. Among the teams of Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, I see our team as the top team. We have five very experienced players and this should help us. We are looking to finish second and advance to the final playoff round.”
Honduras Head Coach Marcos Tejeda: “Our number one goal is to qualify for World Championship. We look for strong competition among Panama and Guatemala. We know USA is way ahead of the others technically and tactically. We realize playing with USA is a way to get more experience against the best in the world. We went to Trinidad & Tobago and we feel we did well finishing third. All these qualifiers have provided us with new vision on how far behind we are and the need to grow to become one of the best teams. The fact we are located in a very strong region with USA, Dominican Republic, Cuba and others is very limiting. But playing with the big ones will make us a big one eventually.”
Panama Head Coach Reynaldo Ortega: “We have been in training for six months. We are working on our power and jumping skills. We know we are facing three very tall teams who play fast games. We are going to try to use our blocking versus their fast attacks.”