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T&T beach volleyball quartet leave for Cayman tourney
T&T quartet of Marlon Phillip, Daneil Williams, Apphia Glasgow and La Teisha Joseph departs today for Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands where they will compete in the second stop of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit, from tomorrow until Sunday.
The T&T men and women teams will be among 12 pairs per gender including the champions in La Paz, Mexico two weeks ago as they will converge on the pearly-white sands of the Seven Miles Beach temporary beach volleyball complex for ninth consecutive year with teams hailing from 11 countries.
The local men’s team of Williams and Phillip are coming off a disappointing 11th placed finish from 12 teams in La Paz and will be out for a better showing.
Williams and Phillip, who first played together on the tour last October in St Lucia where they placed seventh and followed up with another seventh place finish on home soil in Tobago, last November, ended 11th from 12 teams courtesy a default win over Nicaraguans Ruben Mora and Danny Lopez, 21-0, 21-0.
This after they had a chance to advance to the playoff for ninth but were outplayed by USA’s Reid Priddy and Stafford Slick, 18-21, 11-12.
When the tournament served off with round-robin play, the T&T men were beaten by US Virgin Islands duo, Dillon Lesniak and Brian Kwasny 11-21, 19-21; USA’s Jon Mesko and Skylar Del Sol 12-21, 17-21 and top Mexican pairing, Juan Virgin and Lombardo Ontiveros 8-21, 13-21.
The Mexicans are the all-time most successful player in NORCECA with Virgen having won 32 tournaments in the history of the circuit while Ontiveros has 18, all but one with Virgen
However, Williams and Phillip will seek to put that all behind them as they seek precious points to help T&T qualify for the FIVB World Beach Volleyball Championship.
Last month, in the T&T Volleyball Federation hosted qualifiers to select the national teams for NORCECA action, Phillip combined with Josiah “Squirrel” Eccles to top the table ahead of Kurt Edwards and Kareem Thomas while top ranked individual Williams playing with new partner Christian Francois, in the absence of Fabien Whitfield, who is serving a ban, which he is challenging as well, were third.
The young but experienced duo of Joseph and Glasgow, also a national rugby player. Are no strangers to Cayman Islands and placed eighth in their last outing there two seasons ago.
The energetic duo topped the local qualifiers ahead of the experienced Ayana Dyette and first time partner Delana Mitchell while another veteran pair, Rheeza Grant and Abby Blackman ended third.
In Cayman Islands, Cubans duos of Lidiannis Echeverria and Leila Martinez in the women’s field and Karell Pena and Daisel Quesada in the men’s event, who were crowned in La Paz and are among the pre-tournament favourites.
The women’s defending champions Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen of USA and two-time winners in NORCECA Jamie Broder and Caleigh Whitaker of Canada are among the top teams registered to play over the weekend.
Broder won in 2013 in Cayman when she teamed up with Kristina Valjas.
Both USAand Canada are fielding two teams per gender while Cayman Islands will have two representatives in the women’s competition.
Canada-A (Jamie Broder/Caleigh Whitaker), Canada-B (Charlotte Whitaker/Caleigh Cruickshank), Cayman Islands-A (Marisa Harrison/Stefania Gandolfi), Cayman Islands-B (Melisa Burrowes/Ileann Powery), Cuba (Lidiannis Echeverria/Leila Martinez), Guatemala (Maria J. Orellana/Blanca Recinos), Nicaragua (Swan Mendoza/Lolette Rodriguez), Puerto Rico (Valeria Porrata/Ashley Vasquez), T&T (La Teisha Joseph/Apphia Glasgow), USA-A (Betsi Flint/Kelley Larsen), USA-B (Jace Pardon/Lara Dykstra), US Virgin Islands (Amber Bennett/Melanie Valenciana).
Canada-A (Maverick Hatch/Garett May), Canada-B (Aaron Nusbaum/Ryan Vandeburg), Cayman Islands-A (Casey Santamaria/David Wood), Cuba (Karell Pena/Daisel Quesada), El Salvador (Davis Vargas/Carlos Escobar), Guatemala (Andy Leonardo/Luis García), Nicaragua (Rubén Mora/Dany López), Puerto Rico (Orlando Irizarry/Juan Ribas), St Kitts & Nevis (St Clair Hodge/Kemoroy Percival), T&T (Marlon Phillip/Daneil Williams), USA-A (Mark Burik/William Kolinske), USA-B (Jon Mesko/Skylar Del Sol).