After joining the Gala Volei Tournament this weekend, the group will then participate in the annual Navidad Tournament that is set to run in Guadalajara, Spain, from December 27-29. After that, the team will travel to the Czech Republic to play there that much awaited qualifier that is joined also by the national teams of Germany, Latvia, and Hungary alongside the hosts of the Czech Republic. Ana Martins says: “We have been on a permanent training camp and have practiced twice a day. We are all much motivated and the group is united and focused on delivering a good performance. In a couple of weeks we’ll join the European qualifier in Brno and we do hope that everything will run there according to our plans” stresses the 16-year old middle-blocker.
She is also the captain of the group that will perform next week in the annual Navidad Tournament. “The matches there in Guadalajara will be our last test before the European qualifier in Brno. We know that we will play very strong opponents there and that most of their players are taller than us. However, we’re developing the right tactics to stand their quality and cope with this handicap. This training camp has helped unite the group and we are getting to know each other a lot better. Even though we are working hard, we still enjoy some break from our school obligations. We have to combine sport with school but I believe we’re succeeding in this as we all are good students. We want to continue on that good track, i.e. to play good Volleyball and get good results at school too”.
Assistant coach Paula Semedo – a former international player – is extremely pleased with the quality of the group. “This group is amazing. I am thrilled to work with these girls as they are very committed in doing their job properly. They always give their maximum regardless of what we ask them to do and we are very happy with their dedication. The work has been very demanding and our preparations have lasted for some months. They are aged 15 or 16 and hence they have to sacrifice their free time; they are away from their families and friends and three times a week they get up at 5 am. They definitely are doing all this because they love playing Volleyball but still they are to be praised for what they do. We are working well and even though they know the challenge they are supposed to take up, I believe they are ready for that. They will have to stand high blocks, strong attacks and have to perform well in defense in order to make the difference. We will finalize our preparations via the Gala Volei Tournament in Matosinhos, where the players will undergo a thorough evaluation by their coaches. They will be a little anxious but it is good that this anxiety will be gone by the time we join the real competition. If every player does her job properly, I think we can achieve good results. Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic all have very good teams but I believe that these girls will be doing their best to defend the honor of their home country”.
“I would like to wish a splendid holiday season to everyone hoping that 2013 will be a better year than the one that is just about to come to an end. I also would like to send my best wishes to the head coach of the boys’ national team, hoping that he’ll get well soon” concludes Semedo.
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