It may still be the off season for UB volleyball but Buffalo's Tahleia Bishop scored some international recognition as she led the Jamaican National Team to a bronze medal at the World Championship Qualifiers which were played down the road from her home town in Mississauga, Ontario.
The Jamaican team was led by Bulls coach Reed Sunahara who brought along his assistant coach Donald Gleason. It was great local exposure for the new UB coach who is aiming to turn the Bulls into a contender in the mid American Conference.
"This was a great experience for Tahleia and for all of the players on the team," said Sunahara. "Playing at the international level is a totally different game and for most of our players, this was a new challenge for them. They represented their country with pride and we are happy to leave with a medal."
Jamaica took the bronze metal match over the US Virgin Islands 25-13, 25-10, 25-11. Bishop led the way, playing the entire match as the UB Sophomore finished the afternoon with eight kills as she hit .333. She added a block, two digs and four service aces.
This was the first time that the Jamaican national team had ever won a match at the World Qualifiers and it was their first medal in women's indoor volleyball. "It is great to be part of history and we know we are the start of something special," said Bishop. "This was an outstanding opportunity for me to play against some of the top teams in the world and it has helped me become a better player."
Over the course of the weekend, Jamaica played games against the Canadian and Mexican national teams as well as facing the U.S. Virgin Islands twice, which were both 3-0 sweeps.
Playing one hour from her home town of Whitby, Ontario gave her friends and family a chance to some an cheer he on. Of course playing in Canada for the Jamican team was not without some internal conflict.
"It was a little conflicting for me because I knew I was going to have to play against my home country, but it was great for me because either way I knew I was going to be proud of whoever won, It was awesome to have so many people in the stands over the four games cheering for me and I couldn't ask for anything more than that." -- Tahleia Bishop
Canada went on to win the gold medal at the World Championship Qualifiers with a 3-0 victory over Mexico on Monday evening.