Belize Female Volleyball brings home Bronze again

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

In August 2012, the Belize Volleyball Senior Female team played in the first round of the Women’s World Championship Qualifier, Group G, in Panama City, Panama. They placed third and brought home the first medal in the history of Belize female volleyball, allowing them to qualify for round two of the Women’s Volleyball World Championship to be held in 2014 in Italy. The Fédération Internacionale de Volleyball (FIVB) World Championships is the oldest and most important international indoor volleyball competition organized by the FIVB.

Belize Female National Team 2013
On May 8, 2013, the national team traveled once more, this time 29 hours to the south of the Caribbean to Willemstad, Curaçao, as a part of Group J to compete against the islands of Antigua, Curaçao and St. Lucia. They once again placed third, bringing home another bronze medal and an additional accomplishment for Belize Volleyball. Team members were Maurissa Williams, Precelia Hoare, Analisa Habet, Alina Scott, Esther Middleton, Zaire Garbutt, Sherylee Thurton-Young, Marika Zuniga, Tichele Solis, Tanesha Encalada, Tisha Solis and Shantell Arnold. In round one, the then Libero, Jasmine Anderson brought back Best Libero and Best Defense in individual awards and now Belize’s defensive specialist, Esther Middleton returned with the title of Best Libero. Best Setter was awarded to Tanesha Encalada and Best Server to Shantell Arnold. Belize tied with Curaçao in individual awards taking three titles each.

S. Arnold block2
In their first match Belize triumphed over Antigua in a 3-1 set match (25-11, 18-25, 25-17, 25-13) but were defeated later that same day by St. Lucia, 3-1 (26-24, 18-25, 24-26, 17-25). The third match against the host team also resulted in defeat as Curaçao won the game, 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-11). In the press release following, Curaçao’s national team captain, Maya Gomez explained that despite their loss, Belize proved to be the most difficult team to beat and in the final match, Belize easily took the bronze medal over Antigua, 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-18). According to head coach and Belize Volleyball Association president, Allan Sharp, the team’s experiences in the past Central American games acted as practice matches to pinpoint players’ strengths and weaknesses. Also, year round training better prepared them for the bigger, harder hitting players in the Caribbean region. Fierce attacks were lead by Tichele Solis who had a total of 49 kills in the entire tournament and was named second best scorer followed by Sherylee Thurton-Young with 27 kills. Zaire Garbutt led Belize’s blocking and proved to be the second best blocker of the tournament while Shantell Arnold dominated the tournament service points with a total of 12 aces.

E. Middleton, T. Encalada, S. Arnold
Team Belize team returned home on Wednesday, May 15. It is unsure if Belize will be joining the gold and silver medalists, Curaçao and St. Lucia in the third round until January 1, 2014. North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) officials will select the highest-ranking third place team from a total of five pools to advance as the third seed in round three. Mr. Sharp also told us that while Belize Volleyball is improving and has moved up in ranking it is uncertain of the team’s position and will have to hope for the best.
Congratulations to Team Belize on this historic accomplishment and step forward for female volleyball!

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