Monday, February 19, 2018

T&T girls go down gallantly


Mark Fraser

DESPITE failing to qualify for the knockout phase, Ayana Dyette and Nancy Joseph were far from disgraced in the fifth leg of the 2014 NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) Beach Volleyball Circuit in Mexico.

The Trinidad and Tobago girls produced arguably their best performance of the season when they forced Tealle Hunkus and Kimberly MacGiven to work hard to win their final group match 21-16, 21-16 on Saturday.

The Americans had soared to the gold medal in the opening leg in Cayman Islands in late April and in the third leg in Guatemala two weekends later and are the title favourites.

Joseph and Dyette had come very close to victory in their first match of the tournament the day before they were nosed out 19-21, 21-15, 15-12 by Elia Torres and Jacqueline Torruno of Nicaragua.

And later in the day, the country’s top-ranked girls went down 21-14, 21-10 against Mexicans Haydee Lopez and Mayra Santacruz, who actually got less points from the Americans than the T&T girls did.

Dyette and Joseph, who just missed the podium by placing fourth when they first combined in the home leg of the 2012 NORCECA circuit in October, started off this season slowly by placing 11th.

The struggle continued when they finished 12th the weekend after, but a week later in the second straight NORCECA event in Guatemala, they struck form to reach the quarterfinals and eventually ended up seventh about a month ago.

Joseph and Dyette, who combined in four events at this level last year, have been untouchable at home this year. They have not only won all six tournaments staged by the Trinidad and Tobago Volleyball Federation, they have surrendered a total of just two sets during their domination.

There are 14 legs in this year’s NORCECA circuit, which is scheduled to conclude in Trinidad in the middle of November.