Bahamas to send of just eight-member women's national volleyball team to 2014 world championships


Senior Sports Reporter


STILL peeved over the lack of recognition and financial benefits from the men’s national volleyball team triumph at the Senior Central Volleyball Championship in July, the Bahamas Volleyball Federation is forced to send off just an eight-member women’s national team to the 2014 World Championships first round qualifying tournament this weekend.

The team, coached by Joseph ‘Joe Mo’ Smith and DeVince Smith, is scheduled to leave town on Friday for Suriname where they will play in a four-team pool against Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and Guadeloupe with the top three advancing to the second round of qualifying in 2013.

The team will be made up of Kelsie Johnson, Krystel Rolle, Cheryse Rolle-Bain, Laval Sands, Tia Charlow, Tia Wilson, Katrina Johnson-Lightbourne and Melinda Bastian.

“This is the first time that we’ve been in this position,” said Smith about the small size. “We have normally been stacked. Now that we have a smaller squad, we have to do a better job on defense and offense and the playing rotation, which will be very short because of the limited amount of players.

“The substitutions will have to be quick and to the point. We will have to rest each other, but hopefully we will pull off the games that we have to in order to advance to the playoffs and qualify for the second round next year.”

All of the players, with the exception of Bastian, participated on the women’s national team that competed at the Sr CVC Championships in July in St Croix, US Virgin Islands. Bastian didn’t travel because she was recovering from a broken hand, but Smith said she is expected to play a pivotal role in the team’s success this time around.

During the course of two days, the Bahamas will have to play against Trinidad & Tobago at 9am Saturday and play Suriname at 8pm. Then at 9am Sunday, they will take on Guadeloupe. The outcome of the games will determine who they will play in the semifinal and hopefully the final on Sunday night.

“We expect to advance. It’s going to be tough on our team, but I think they have it in them to pull it off,” he said. “Once we target two of the three teams and don’t burn ourselves out with the eight players, we should do very well. They have to do what they have to do and hopefully once we qualify, we can be able to carry a full team next year.”

Smith, the first vice president of the federation, said they’ve encountered a problem with funding and so they have to go “short-handed,” but he’s still convinced that they can “do the job” and qualify for the second round next year.

“Funding is real rough. Funding is rough,” Smith said. “Even with the men winning the gold (at the CVC Tournament) we haven’t seen a dollar yet from anybody. But we have to go and do what we have to do, although we will be short-handed.”

If the Bahamas fails to travel to compete in the tournament, Smith said they will be faced with a suspension and a $20,000 fine.

“So we have to go and we have to try and make the best out of it,” he stated. “It’s a seasoned team that’s going.

Once the women return home, Smith said they will prepare to send the men’s team off to their version of the qualifying tournament. But he said he doesn’t expect that the men will be in the same predicament as the women as they anticipate having a full squad of men travelling.


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