TRINIDAD and Tobago were overwhelmed by hosts United States when the NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) Continental Olympic Qualification Volleyball Tournament served off on Monday, in California.
The regional powerhouses slammed the Caribbean champions 25-9, 25-10, 25-14 in the final of four matches on the opening day.
T&T were on court against Mexico at press time last night and will conclude their round robin campaign in Group A at three p.m. today against Costa Rica.
Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are in the other group, and the top team from both groups will advance directly into Friday night's semifinals, the night before the runners-up and third-placed teams battle in the quarterfinals.
The title match will be contested on Saturday night and the champs will earn a ticket to the Olympic Games in London, England, in July/August.
The women's equivalent tournament was contested last week, and T&T finished seventh of the eight teams. Dominican Republic beat Cuba in the final to secure their Olympic pass.
The Cuban men gained some revenge in yesterday's only match completed before press time when they whipped Dominican Republic 25-21, 25-15, 25-21.
Dominican Republic also lost on Monday when Canada beat them in the first match of the tournament 25-21, 25-13, 25-15. The Cubans later cruised past the Puerto Ricans 25-20, 25-18, 25-18. And Mexico were 25-17, 25-18, 25-20 winners over Costa Rica in the first Group A match of the tournament.
In today's opening match, Puerto Rico will oppose the Dominican Republic at one p.m. After the Costa Rica/T&T encounter, Cuba will play Canada from six p.m. And Mexico and the United States will bring down the curtain on the round robin phase of the tournament with an eight p.m. showdown.