By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV, Port Moresby
Captain of Guam’s national women’s indoor volleyball team has expressed confidence in the team to compete in the 2015 Pacific Games.
Although only a few players have had international exposure, team captain, Maria Wahl Haynes, is optimistic that the younger players bring more energy and ambition to the court.
With only 10 days remaining until the opening ceremony of the 15th chapter of the Pacific Games, Guam’s women’s indoor volleyball squad are steadily preparing to make the 2, 560 kilometre journey that will take them from Guam to Port Moresby. The girls are entering the games with a ‘no-fear’ attitude.
Captain Maria Wahl Haynes and team mate Joneen Terlaje are the only two senior players; having both competed at the most recent East Asian Games, and Micronesian Games. Leah Castro is the only other member, to have taken part at the Micro games, while the rest of the 11 member team will debut on the international arena in July. None of the players from the 2011 Pacific Games are in the current team.
The biggest hurdle for the women’s indoor volleyball squad is that they are height challenged, as in past years. The tallest players are Maria Wahl Haynes, the captain, and Erin Wong, who both stand at a height of about 178 centimetres, this makes team Guam one of the shorter teams in the women’s competition.
Head coach, Marvin Sablan, says that the games should give the girls more exposure, and confidence to play in front of larger crowds. He adds that any error that could be made due to lack of experience by the younger players will be addressed as team.
Despite ‘height’ being seen as a weakness, the squad will focus on strategically shutting down opponents with good defence. Tahiti are the defending gold medalists from the 2011 Pacific Games, in women’s volleyball; the other two teams to watch out for are New Caledonia who won silver and bronze winner Samoa.
Guam won gold in indoor volleyball at the 2014 Micronesia Games; and finished at 14th place, overall, at the last Pacific Games, with 6 silver and 5 bronze medals.
Guam will take part in 12 sports, with over 200 athletes and officials to the 2015 Pacific Games.