Two Cayman volleyball players hope North Carolina will serve them well.
Stacy-Ann Kelly and Gina Powell are headed to Durham for a month of training at North Carolina Central University. The duo are slated to leave on Tuesday and focus on indoor volleyball at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division One school.
Technical director for Cayman volleyball Keith Higgins states the trip is a result of a personal link to the institution.
“Gina and Stacy-Ann are doing one month of training at the university, which is a top school in the US,” Higgins said. “The coach is an elite division one coach and a friend of mine.
“The goal is we want to try and medal in the upcoming Island Games. Our best record was fifth and we want to try to equal or better that. They are Caymanian players who have the potential for this Island Games and future Island Games.”
Bermuda is hosting the XV Island Games this July. Indoor volleyball is expected to be one of 16 events.
For the record, the North Carolina Central Eagles play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Head coach Georgette Crawford-Crooks is originally from Kingston, Jamaica and has played for the Jamaican national team in years past. She has over 10 years of coaching experience, having led the Eagles since 2006 after a two-year stint at North Carolina State University.
Higgins’ choice to send Kelly and Powell to North Carolina may seem curious at first glance. But the national coach states circumstance and potential were the decisive factors.
“They have the time, as they’re between employment, to go for a month. For indoor training, anything less would not garner anything substantial. I consider them new to volleyball, with new being used for anyone who has not played in a year. Gina, for example, went to the Island Games around 2003 so she has some experience, though not much.”
The decision to send Kelly and Powell to North Carolina comes after Cayman hosted the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation 2013 beach circuit opener. Four women, Cristin Alexander, Jennifer Bily, Stefania Gandolfi and Jessica Wolfenden, represented Cayman.
Higgins states that competition is an inspiration to Kelly and Powell.
“They were inspired by both teams at NORCECA and they are inspired by the beach and indoor disciplines. Eventually, they might play beach but at this time, they’re playing indoors.”