Fierce battle expected for three spots for 2011 world junior championships at NORCECA Men’s Juniors

GATINEAU, Canada - If the coaches’ comments on Sunday are any indication there will be a fierce battle for the three coveted spots for next year’s world junior championships at the NORCECA Men’s Junior Continental Championship that kicks off here on Monday

U.S. coach John Hawks says his traditionally powerhouse squad should be considered underdogs while the always dangerous Dominican is fielding a young team. Cuba is a strong favourite as well and watch for Canada which traditionally has success at this tournament and now will be boosted by the home crowd.

Here follows the excerpts of the coaches’ statements during the press conference: 

Greg Barthel, Canada: “Our goal is to finish top three and qualify for junior worlds. We had a great three weeks of training and we are looking forward to performing well in front of our home crowd.”

Garcia Garcia Roberto, Cuba: “We want to come to make the playoffs, then qualify for the world junior championships and if we get that far why not first.”

Osiel Vasquez Cancio, Dominican Republic: “Our team is young and inexperienced. But we believe we have the team to give a good show to the Canadian public and go deep into the tournament as well.”

Eddy Salomon: Martinique: “We want to give the maximum of ourselves and go as far as we can. It’s our first participation at this tournament and we want to learn from this and build on it.”

Francisco Javier Jimenez Espitia, Mexico: “Our team has been together for two years and they work very well together. They also have a good knowledge of the international game and we are aiming for a top-three finish.”

Ramon Lawrence, Puerto Rico: “Our primary goal is to qualify for the world junior championships. We have a talented young team.”

Germain Elvin Ryan, St. Lucia: We’re happy to be here, it’s our first participation at this tournament. I think we want to gain some valuable experience and also enjoy it. We are going to play every match with pride and dignity in our national colours.”

Gideon Dickson, Trinidad and Tobago: “Our goal is to come here and give a good representation of Trinidad and Tobago volleyball. We believe we can compete with Martinique and Mexico and also bridge a gap between us and USA.”

John Hawks, U.S.A: “I really like the way we’ve been training and we have a lot of depth. We are looking forward to this tournament, we have some great competition here and we actually feel we are one of the underdogs. That’s the way we are approaching this.”