Steep task for volleyballers
Jamaica's volleyball coach, Richard Chong, said not having two main players for the third round of International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) World Championship qualifiers, from Friday to Sunday, in the Dominican Republic, will make their already difficult task of advancing that much harder.
The Jamaicans, who left the island yesterday, will be without centre players Danaisha Moss and Sashalee Thomas, who both have college commitments and are unable to attend. Considering the quality of opposition they are set to face, Chong anticipates a tough tournament, but said the team is looking to learn as much as they can for experience.
"The team has changed because a few players are in college and have contractual scholarship agreements. This makes it difficult for countries like Jamaica, who are dependent on those players because the other countries have players who are solely (pro) volleyball players," he said
"Two main players, middle blockers, Danesha Marks (best blocker in the Caribbean tournament) and Trisha V Thomas are unable to come because of their scholarships, and they will be missed because they bring a lot of height to the middle," Chong pointed out.
However, Chong believes the players who will take their places are good enough to maintain the team's competitive edge.
"It will change our team a little but the girls who are going will play as best as they can. All the players selected for this tournament have been in training for the Caribbean tournament. They have the quality. One of them (Cherine Richards) has played with the national team previously, in the middle, and we think that bringing some of that experience will help. Tasha-Gaye Richards, who was also on the Caribbean team, but wasn't a starter, can hold her own," he said.
Jamaica will play in Group alongside hosts Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico. The top two finishers at the tournament earn berths in the World Championship.
The team includes: Breanna Atkinson, Karensa Beckford, Kayla Williams, Cherie Thompson, Tasha Gaye Richards, Cherine Richards, Aiko Jones, Petal Smith, Cavell Williams, Yolanda Miller, Tahleia Bishop and Fiona Binns.