The Bahamas looking to get one step closer to FIVB

There are a few new faces, plays and calls but the team has the same winning attitude, according to the head coach of the senior men’s national volleyball squad, Raymond Wilson.
Hours after the team wrapped up its final practice session,  Wilson officially announced the players who will be representing the country at the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) 2nd Round Qualifiers for the International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB) Men’s World Championships. 
The Bahamas will play out of Group I, in the tournament that will get underway August 9 in French St. Martin. The tournament will run until August 12. 
Other countries in the group are host country French St. Martin, Barbados and Nicaragua. Team Bahamas leaves for French St. Martin today.
The team members are Renaldo Knowles, Shedrick Forbes, Muller Petit, Tony Simon, Prince Wilson, Endierich Rahming, Byron Ferguson, Jamal Ferguson, Jon Isaacs Jr., Shonari Hepburn, Je’Vaughn Saunders and Kirk Greene Jr. Both Hepburn and Greene Jr. have been moved up to the senior team, from the junior side. Saunders and Isaacs were part of previous teams that played in a number of regional tournaments.
Head Coach Wilson said: “The team has been selected to win this round, by NORCECA. We have the potential staff and experience needed to win the gold. We see our best competition coming from Barbados, and we figure that we will have to play them in the first game. That match will set the tone for the tournament. All we need to do is win and take it from there.
“The great thing about this team is that they are very sound, play great defense and they pass very well. The team is very consistent from the service line and at the net. There are persons who have the green light to just rip it from the service line, and others who keep it in play and let the defense work. We play a quick game, as a result, it gives us more effectiveness on the offensive side.”
The Bahamas emerged as the victors of Pool A, defeating host country Curacao, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21 and 25-21. In that game, which was played on December 2, 2012, Ferguson led all scorers with 18 points. Knowles had 14 and Prince Wilson closed with 13 points.
Winning the best spiker award was Knowles, Ferguson took the best blocker award and Prince Wilson was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP).
The Bahamas will need to win its pool or finish as one of the top four runners-up, if they plan to qualify for the third round in 2014. As of now, the men’s squad is ranked second in the NORCECA region and the women’s national squad is ranked at number 11. So far, St. Lucia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic have all moved on to the next round.

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