It’s not the end of the Guatemalan claim, and it’s not a war we just won, but victory was never so sweet for Belize last night. Thousands of Belizeans, some standing, some sitting, all shouting, packed the Belize Civic Center for an international showdown. Belize with about 300,000 people in population and Guatemala’s 16 million plus…produced its best women volleyball team and they squared off in the final match for second place. And we won. Volleyball fans and people who never watch the sport along with people across the political divide felt true unity inside the packed auditorium. Belize’s National volleyball team emerged with silver at the twentieth Central American Women’s Volleyball Tournament and Love News reporter Sitnah Blease and cameraman Myles Gillette were among the screaming fans at the Belize City Center.
Sitnah Blease: Thousands of Belizeans filled the Belize City arena on Wednesday night to show support and solidarity for our National Women’s Volleyball Team as they competed against Guatemala our neighboring country, battling for the title of the Twentieth Central American Women’s Volleyball Championship. However, for Belizeans shouting their voices out in the stands, and watching live at home, we were not only cheering for our team, but for our country as well. This final game against Guatemala, meant more to us than just a volleyball championship title. Our girls dominated the court, challenged the competition, fought the hard fight, and in the end came out victorious. Epitomizing the unity and fierce loyalty we have for our country, Belizeans rallied with the team as we all experienced the unwavering emotions throughout the entirety of the arena when we realized that we had won. Our Belizean fans expressed their overall feelings on the game.
Lisa Shoman: Wow so many emotions. It was nerve wracking but they did it and I have never heard us sound like that in the civic before. It was amazing, really wonderful.
Voice1: Very very proud of our girls, it was so exciting. I have been to all the games and this was just an amazing night to see the talent. Proud of them!
Voice 2: I think I share the sentiments of all Belizeans when I say we are very proud of all the girls. I mean they face versatility tonight, they face a difficult task tonight. They were down and they fought back and they show the true spirit of Belizeans.
Voice 3: This game for me was like nerve wracking. At first; the first set they got it, they had it under control. The second set kind of scared me but the girls got it together in the end and it was quite something to watch. I am glad; I am happy for them. Right now the emotions of everybody here and myself; It’s amazing me in. I am proud of them and we are happy mein, we are happy.
Sitnah Blease: As the crowd roared on, it was evident that our pouring of support had been a fuel to the fire within our girls. Tears of joy were spilled as they embraced on the court basking in their of glow victory. Sherika, player number three, and Shantel, player number sixteen, unraveled their thoughts after the big win.
Sherika PLayer # 3: I feel so amazing, I feel and so proud; oh my god we won.
Shantel Player #1 6: Honestly can’t explain; honestly I don’t know. I have been waiting for years to win a Central American championship. I have been playing ten years and finally at home we won. It’s not easy and many times I did especially at the El Salvador game I said I can’t let that come back and haunt us and so on the last serve I was on the line again. I was like ok Shantel you can’t let it happen again because I remember a facebook comment: “Shantel make my heart broke and that broke my own heart so I say because of that I can’t let it happen again and so I focus on getting it in and we played our best and we did hit.
Sitnah Blease: Our opponent and a member of Guatemala’s team also shared how she felt about competing against Belize.
Opponent from Guatemala: We train in the morning; we know that the team of Belize are high in Blockers so we have to hit the ball to the other size.We are very happy because it’s a different atmosphere. It is very cool playing with all the people cheering for their team so we learn a lot of things playing here. It’s amazing and we are excited to come back to play another championship.
Sitnah Blease: However, despite defeating Guatemala, at three sets to two, Belize placed an overall second in the tournament with Costa Rica receiving the championship title and beating us with a meager point score margin. President of the Belize Volleyball Association, Allan Sharp, explains that even with the final position, he never doubted their ability to defeat Guatemala.
Allan Sharp Coach and President of Belize Volleyball Association: I think we did very well considering our very big emotional win last night against Costa Rica and to come now and to play a five setter. It took us five sets but we did it; we beat Guatemala. The manin team that we always wanted to beat so we put it off; the girls did an excellent job. We ended up coming in second. We actually tied with Costa Rica in everything so we have to go all the way down to point ratio in the criteria and unfortunately we have a lower point ratio by a slight margin.I think it is 1.17 for us and1.27 for Costa Rica so they end up coming in first and we come in second but I had confidence the whole time. The girls have been preparing, they are ready, they are being calm. You saw them being calm throughout the whole match. The crowd was massive; I think is the most crowd that I have seen in the city center yet so I am very happy. The crowd did hier job, the girls did their job and we pulled of the victory.
Sitnah Blease: The Belizean team not only received their silver medals and a second place trophy for their hard work, but members such Sherika Burton, Karen Quan and Shantel Arnold received awards for domineering their respective roles on the court.
Reporting for Love News, I am Sitnah Blease
The Government has issued a congratulatory message saying the team’s victory is a true testament to the passion, hard work and dedication of each player, the Belize Volleyball Association, and everyone who played a key role in the team’s development and preparation for the event. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Patrick Faber, along with the National Sports Council will be hosting a motorcade through the streets of Belize City on Monday, August 13th, at 2:30 p.m.