BELIZE CITY, Mon. Aug. 1, 2016–The Belize U23 National Male Volleyball Team is expected back from Panama today, after failing to medal, but coming away with a respectable (3-3) record for a 4th place finish in the U23 Central American Volleyball Championship, which saw all seven Central American countries participating in the competition which was held in Panama.
Belize won our opening match on Monday, July 25, against Honduras, 3-2 (25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-11). Belize fell to Costa Rica on Tuesday, July 26, 1-3 (17-25, 25-16, 22-25, 17-25). On Wednesday, July 27, Belize lost to Panama, 0-3 (22-25, 18-25, 18-25). Belize bounced back on Thursday, July 28, to defeat El Salvador, 3-0 (25-13, 25-22, 25-16).
Belize was still in contention for a medal after the victory over El Salvador, with two matches remaining, against Guatemala on Saturday and Nicaragua on Sunday. But on Saturday, Belize lost to Guatemala, 0-3 (18-25, 13-25, 21-25), which put us out of medal contention. Nevertheless, the Belize team battled gallantly in their final match of the round-robin tournament, prevailing over Nicaragua in 5 sets, 3-2 (25-22, 27-29, 26-28, 25-22, 15-12).
According to a Belize Volleyball Association release, Belize’s Bryton Codd, who won Best Attacker and Best Scorer of the tournament, and was also close in the race for Best Server, was “arguably the MVP of the tournament, but that award is given only to the winning team.” The release also noted that, in our final game against Nicaragua, “Bryton scored one of the highest point totals by a Belizean ever in any competition with 29 points, 26 coming in kills.”
The final tournament standings had Guatemala in 1st place; Panama was 2nd; Costa Rica, 3rd; Belize, 4th; Nicaragua, 5th; Honduras, 6th; and El Salvador, 7th.
The BVA release continues:
“The individual awards went to: MVP – Carlos López (GUA); Best Scorer – Bryton Codd (BZE); Best Attacker – Bryton Codd (BZE); 2nd Best Attacker – Byron Hernández (NCA); Best Server – Walter Serrano (CRC); Best Receiver – Luis Santacruz (GUA); Best Setter – Adán Ruano (GUA); Best Blocker – Ubert Batista (PAN); 2nd Best Blocker – José Anguizola (PAN); Best Opposite – Cesar Gómez (CRC); Best Defense – Luis Chávez (CRC); Best Libero – Luis Chávez (CRC).
“… This type of result, playing against countries of large populations that all get government financial assistance, full time staff, and their own training facility, is a testament to the talent in Belize and the hard work put in by the team members.
“Team Belize male team now turns its attention to the Men’s World Championship Qualification Tournament to be held in Belize at the SCA gym in 2 weeks. Teams from Dominican Republic, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are arriving August 12. The tournament is August 14 to 20.”
(Ed. Note: Respect to Bryton Codd, his teammates and other members of the Belize Volleyball Association.)