FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas volleyball head coach Robert Pulliza has been selected as an assistant coach for the Puerto Rico Women’s National Team. He will serve as an assistant during the team’s summer schedule which begins in June at the NORCECA Champions Cup in Cuba.
“I am extremely grateful to the Puerto Rico Volleyball Federation for giving me the opportunity to represent the country during such an important stretch in the Olympic-qualifying process,” Pulliza said. “I am looking forward to representing the Puerto Rico flag and the Razorback Nation with great pride.”
The NORCECA tournament will be contested June 5-7 in Havana and is part of the qualifying process for the FIVB World Cup with the top-two teams from the event advancing to the world competition. Puerto Rico will be joined at the NORCECA Champions Cup by national teams from Canada, Dominican Republic and host Cuba.
Pulliza’s time with the Puerto Rico National Team will also include coaching duties at the FIVB World Grand Prix. Playing in Group 2, Puerto Rico will play at home beginning July 3-5 before traveling to Bulgaria on July 10-12 for the second leg of competition.
The team’s summer schedule also includes the XVII Pan American Games in Toronto where Puerto Rico is one of eight teams in the volleyball competition. During the preliminary rounds, Puerto Rico will play in Group B along with Brazil, Peru and the United States. After three days of round-robin play, tournament play begins July 22 with the quarterfinals. The rest of the Pan Am field includes Argentina, host Canada, Cuba and Dominican Republic.
Pulliza is no stranger to coaching at the international level with prior experiences with both Puerto Rico and Team USA. Most recently in 2012, he was the head coach of the USA Development Team at the 2nd Annual BIP Challenge in China. In 2010, Pulliza served on the coaching staff with the Puerto Rico Youth National Team that won a bronze medal at the NORCECA Girls’ Youth Continental Championship to qualify for the 2011 FIVB Youth World Championships.
The global reach of Pulliza and the Arkansas volleyball program is also reflected in its roster with several student-athletes carrying international experience. Among its returning standouts, the Razorbacks have been represented by Chanell Clark-Bibbs (USA), Barbara Dapic (Croatia), Liz Fortado (USA) and Ana Sofia Jusino (Puerto Rico). The trend will continue with its 2015 recruiting class in Juliette Fidon (France), Fernanda Güitron (Mexico), Okiana Valle (Puerto Rico) and Pilar Victoria (Puerto Rico).
The Razorbacks’ list of past standouts who played internationally includes Roslandy Acosta (Venezuela), Raymariely Santos (Puerto Rico), Janeliss Torres-Lopez (Puerto Rico) and Ashley Vazquez (Puerto Rico). Acosta was a 2008 Olympian for Venezuela and was the youngest player in the competition.
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