The Bermuda Volleyball Association’s Junior National Girls’ programme is sending three teams to Daytona Beach, Florida, to compete in the Florida Holiday Challenge, which starts tomorrow.
Three teams from varying age groups are heading stateside under the Paradise Hitters Volleyball Club name to compete at the two-day tournament at the Daytona Beach Ocean Centre.
They will face stiff competition with an impressive 112 teams registered to compete from across the United States and several other countries, battling it out in best of three games to 25 points.
The “Little Hitters” are competing in the under-14 division under the team name “Paradise Hitters 14” and will be coached by Mike Gazzard and Lisa LeBlanc. The team has five returning players and four new faces, with coach Gazzard keen for his players to develop their skills.
“Our goal is to compete at the highest level possible while further developing the core skills that will continue to make the players successful as they rise through the ranks,” he said.
Meanwhile, coach LeBlanc is excited for the team to test themselves against strong opposition. “Not only have we established the training where they are ready to compete, but our athletes have shown significant improvement and drive from last year,” she added.
“With this solid base, the new players have rapidly developed and this experience will propel them to the next level. Competing against high-level players in their age bracket means gaining valuable experience which equals success no matter the outcome.”
The “Junior Hitters” are competing in the under-16 division under the team name “Paradise Hitters 16” and are coached by Allison Settle-Smith.
“Our athletes have been more focused, committed and playing at a higher level than I’ve ever seen from our junior volleyball programmes in Bermuda,” she said. “No matter the results, we will come back with experience that will continue to strengthen our teams.”
The “Paradise Hitters” will be competing in the under-18 division under the team name “Paradise Hitters 18” and are led by head coach Gary LeBlanc.
The under-18 division is the most competitive but the coach believes his players are more than well equipped to face the challenge.
“We are extremely excited for this first overseas tournament of the season, which is much earlier than in past seasons, to see where we stack up against the US teams early on,” he said.
“If we keep our errors to a minimum and play consistently, we’re hoping to do well.”