TRINIDAD and Tobago will tackle the hosts when the second edition of the Pan American Women’s Under-23 Volleyball Cup serves off tomorrow in Peru. The clash will take place at 7 p.m., two hours after the battle between the other two teams in Group A, Argentina and Mexico.
The Group B matches are also scheduled for 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. with Costa Rica and Dominican Republic taking the court to follow the Colombia/Cuba encounter. The winners of both round-robin groups will move straight into Friday night’s semifinals, while the runners-up and third-placed teams will contest quarterfinals the night before.
The champions will be crowned next Saturday. There are five countries – Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico and T&T – representing the NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) region and the top two will secure tickets to next year’s World Under-23 Championships.
Argentina, Colombia and Peru are the South Americans involved and the team which finishes the highest of the three will earn the other ticket.
All T&T’s group matches are at 7 p.m. and they will face Argentina on Monday and Mexico the day after.
This country’s team is spearheaded by star national player Channon Thompson, who was voted Best Server, Best Spiker and Most Valuable Player (MVP) when T&T were crowned Caribbean champions for the fifth successive at home last month. Marisha Herbert and Malika Yorke, who were also on that squad, are also in Peru, and the team also includes national player Zahra Collins and top juniors Kaylon Cruickshank, Alexandrea Jones and Reann Young.
Jones was the Best Digger, Best Receiver and Best Libero while Cruickshank was the Best Blocker and Best Spiker and Young was the Best Scorer and MVP when T&T were crowned Caribbean Under-19 champs for the third straight time at home last December.
The team is being coached by national senior player Saleem Ali, who will be assisted by national senior coach Nicholson Drakes.
T&T is the only newcomer to this tournament, replacing Canada, the sixth-placed finishers in the inaugural event two years ago when Dominican Republic defeated Brazil for the gold medal and Argentina picked up bronze.