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Juniors, seniors to square off against one another

The under-23 players in the New Providence Volleyball Association (NPVA) have challenged members of both senior national teams to a game each, to determine which program is stronger.

The one-day tournament will be played on December 23 at the D.W. Davis gymnasium. The two games will feature players, on the under-23 team like Camilla Miller, Michelle Thompson, Q’Jannis Wilson, Janae Saunders, Brittany Bonamy and Avonnie Seymour, and senior national female members Cheryse Rolle, Krystel Rolle, Laval Sands, Melinda Bastian, Shantia Seymour, Tia Charlow and others. The senior players have accepted the challenge and are saying, “Bring it on.”

Players such as Chauncey Cooper, Shonari Hepburn, Kellan Rahming and Kurtwood Greene Jr. are all excited to play top senior men members Renaldo Knowles, Prince Wilson and Shedrick Forbes.

Krystel Rolle said: “I’m not sure who is playing for the under-23 team but my team is ready. We have experience and we’re going to do what it takes to win. I’m very excited to see what the under-23 girls are looking like. I haven’t seen many of them play in a long time. However, no matter what they bring, the older girls will take home the gold.”

Tournament organizer Jason Saunders said challenges like this are long overdue. He noted that the tournament style play is not to create a rivalry among the players, but it provides extra play for those planning on representing the country at the upcoming Caribbean Volleyball Championships (CVC). The biennial regional championships will be held in the summer of 2012, in St. Croix. The last time the senior women team played they finished sixth, and the men were third.

“The tournament is for all current and former national team players,” confirmed Saunders. “The two games were requested by all the players for bragging rights, but the intent is to try and get more of our senior players and national team members playing on a consistent basis. None of the teams get a lot of games in, so we thought this would be challenging for all of them. We have some good players on the junior side who are capable of making the senior national team, but they are sometime overshadowed by the senior players.

“Right now we only have one game on the schedule, but we are looking to host more. All members will play so the teams will be limited to 12 players. This tournament is being held under the NPVA in conjunction with the Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF).”

According to Saunders, this first challenge will show the high level of play in the country. He noted that more tournaments and challenges are being planned, but will have to be held next year due to the scheduling of the regular season of the NPVA.

He said: “This is definitely not the first and last challenge. We want to have a lot more tournaments, but we have a lot of make-up games, so we weren’t able to put on all the tournaments this month because of the games. The playoffs are approaching and we have four teams that are tied, they have make up games to play so those games will or can make a difference in the standings. If there is still a tie, we will have to play a tie breaker so the tournaments will be cutting into the season or scheduled tournaments.”

Regular season play in the NPVA will continue tonight with two games on the schedule. Currently, the Scottsdale Vixens and the Scotiabank Defenders are leading the respective divisions.

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