Net glory beckons

After months of training the national volleyball team is ready.

The squad is eager play at the 2009 Natwest Island Games which start this weekend in Aland, near Finland.

They are so ready in fact that they feel confident in reaping success.

‘Do I think we’re ready? Hell yeah,’ says national team player Richard Campbell. ‘I think this team can be a real contender. We’re more together now than when we went to Jamaica. All the kinks are ironed out and the knots untied.’

Campbell is one of 10 men travelling across the Atlantic to represent Cayman.

The other nine members of the team are: Martin Bodden, Charles Bush, Keith Higgins, Keeble Knight, George Miller, Daniel Pattico, Shervin Rankin, Kevin Solomon and Olney Thompson.

The team also has two non-travelling reserves in Fareed Hosein and Miguel Purcell.

Shervin Rankin is the player/coach and one of the most experienced and technically sound members of the team.

He rose to prominence alongside Olney Thompson during the 2009 North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation Beach Circuit tournament held in Cayman in March.

Campbell is one of the younger, less experienced members of the team, having been competitive in the sport for about three years.

On the team he serves as a role player responsible for tackling certain assignments.

‘What I do is spike and block the ball. Right now I think I got them down pat.’

The national team members are no stranger to one another as they have been together over the last few years.

During that time the team has competed in a number of competitions here and abroad to gain experience. The latest of which was a world volleyball championship qualifier in Jamaica in May.

For the upcoming Games the team has been in serious training since the start of the year.

The side has trained at the Sir Vassel Johnson Multipurpose Hall at the University College of the Cayman Islands Mondays to Thursdays from 5:30pm.

During its training sessions the team has done a variety of drills focusing on returning, setting, serving and spiking.

The Island Games, which officially open this Saturday, feature island nations from around the globe. Cayman has traditionally held its own in most sporting disciplines, including basketball and volleyball.

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