C.I.S. volleyballers head to Trinidad

The Cayman International School girls’ volleyball team leaves Wednesday for Trinidad, where they will compete in a tournament against schools from across the Caribbean area.

The 19-23 October Caribbean Area International Schools Sports Association (CAISSA) tournament pits CIS against teams from hosts Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, and Venezuela.

Ahead of the trip, CaymanSportsBuzz.com stopped by one of their practices to see how preparations were coming along.

“We’re very excited. This tournament is at the beginning of the year, so we had to start training right away, which is something we don’t normally do…being out here two to three times a week, we’ve noticed a lot of improvements. We’re really happy with the progress we’ve made,” said Jessica Wolfenden, one of the team’s coaches.

“There has been such tremendous growth,” said Martha Hall, another of the coaches who had been putting the girls through up to three training sessions each week since school started.

“Practices has been a lot more intense than last year,” setter Sophie Mattison admitted. “We’ve really been pushing ourselves and the coaches have been helping us learn our new positions.”

Her teammate, Natalie Simpson, said the hard work had been paying off with the creation of a stronger team unit. “We’re really becoming a team now. We’re working harder,” she said.

Hall said one of the team’s strengths is communication. “They’ve really taken it upon themselves to call for the ball and as a result, their movement has improved, their positioning has improved, [and] even their basic skills.”

Sophie said that’s because they’ve gelled as a unit. “I think we’re really good at keeping each other’s spirits up and just helping each other out on the court.”


Aside from the local school competition here, the squad is short on competition. That’s why a week ahead of their trip, they scrimmaged against players hoping to suit up for the Cayman Islands during FIVB World Championship qualifier matches here next month. They’ve also benefited from training with Canadian Olympian Jamie Broder during a recent trip she made to Grand Cayman.

“I hope that they are able to see what true competition looks like. They haven’t actually had a lot of competition on the island, especially as a girls-only team. I think this is a great experience for them to see higher levels and where they need to go in the future,” Hall said.

As they head to Trinidad for a new adventure (all the players we spoke with had never been there before), they have the comfort of knowing Wolfenden, a national volleyballer accustomed to travelling to play, will be with them.

She shared some advice with us that the girls could use for the trip. “Pack everything you need for a game in your carry-on in case your luggage gets lost,” she said. “Taking it seriously but having fun and enjoying the culture and building new friendships.”

Let’s hope they do well on the court and enjoy other experiences of the trip as well.

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