Eight teams to play for four tickets to Japan 2018
The Dominican Republic thrilled their fans in the 2014 FIVB World Championship - now they're on the starting line to make the 2018 edition in Japan.
If the NORCECA Rankings are anything to go by, Pool A in Santo Domingo should be a theoretically straightforward task for hosts Dominican Republic at No. 2 and Puerto Rico at No. 3. They are joined by 11th-ranked Jamaica and 12th-ranked Guatemala.
Puerto Rico, in the wake of the destruction caused to the island by hurricane Maria have completed their training and preparation for the tournament in the Dominican Republic.
Puerto Rico in Italy 2014 - now looking to make Japan 2018.
And the hosts, after their amazing run last time around in 2014 in Italy to finish 5th in the 2014 edition of the FIVB's flagship event, are eager to join the world's elite again.
Opening day schedule in Santo Domingo, 13 October:
17:00 (21:00 GMT) - Puerto Rico v Jamaica
19:00 (23:00 GMT) - Dominican Republic v Guatemala
In Port of Spain, meanwhile, Pool B is expected the be hotly contested with three teams realistically vying for the two available berths. Mexico at No. 6 in the NORCECA Rankings, hosts Trinidad & Tobago at No. 7 and Costa Rica at No. 8 are all way ahead of the fourth team in the competition, Dominica, who stand at No. 17.
Still, the coach of hurricane-ravaged Dominica is optimistic: "After the natural disaster caused by hurricane Irma in our island, the players are coming with high spirits," he said "The ladies are eager to play and get experience. We can match up all the weeks and months of practices and see where we are standing."
Opening day schedule in Port of Spain, 13 October:
17:00 (21:00 GMT) - Mexico v Costa Rica
19:00 (23:00 GMT) - Trinidad & Tobago v Dominica
Canada and Cuba have already punched their tickets for Japan 2018 when they finished 1-2 in Pool C of the NORCECA qualifiers last month in Vancouver.
Together with the other two qualifiers across the world, the South America event in Arequipa and the African Nations Championship in Yaounde this weekend will see the full roster completed for the 2018 FIVB Women's World Championship.
Already qualified are Japan as hosts and USA as defending champions. Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Italy, Azerbaijan, Germany, The Netherlands and Bulgaria all qualified from Europe, Brazil advanced from South America, while China, Kazakhstan, Korea and Thailand made it through the Asian qualifiers, in addition to Cuba and Canada from NORCECA.
For more information on the two NORCECA tournaments, including full schedules, live scores, photos and statistics, check out the dedicated sections on the Confederation's website:
- Santo Domingo tournament
- Port of Spain tournament
Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship 2018
FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship 2018
FIVB.com - Volleyball
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