Monday, February 19, 2018

Two Trinidad and Tobago pairs in NORCECA semis

TWO Trinidad and Tobago pairs reached the semi-finals and the two others went out in the quarter-finals during the single most successful day ever for this country in a NORCECA (North, Central American and the Caribbean) Volleyball Tournament on Saturday in St Lucia.

The No.1 male and female pairs had two chances each of picking up a first-ever medal at this level for T&T in the ninth leg of year's NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit yesterday.

Even if the Fabian Whitfield/Daniel Williams and Elki Philip/Ayanna Dyette combinations lost in the semis, there was a second opportunity in the bronze-medal matches just before last night's finals. No results of the day's play were available by press time.

After whipping a pair from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in straight sets (21-12, 21-11) on Friday opening day, Whitfield and Williams lost a heart-breaker 11-21, 27-25, 15-13 to Jeffrey Carlson and Antonio Ciarelli of United States B.

But the T&T No. 1 pair still reached the quarters as they had defeated Esteban Escobar and Jose Suarez of Costa Rica 19-21, 21-14, 15-8 in their first fixture on Saturday.

And in an all-Toco clash for a place in the last four, Williams and Whitfield, playing together for the fifth time in this year's circuit, defeated Simon Blake and debutant Colin Bernard 24-22, 21-17.

Bernard and Blake were beaten by a Costa Rican pair in straight sets in the opening match on Friday, but they then got a "walkover" victory over the BVI tandem and halted pairs from Grenada (21-16, 21-17) and the United Stated Virgin Islands (16-21, 21-9, 21-11) on Saturday to book their place in the last eight.

Whitfield and Williams faced the United States A combination of William Montgomery and Jonathan Mesko in the semis, while USA B, Carlson and Ciarelli, came up against Julian Bissette and Joseph Clercent from host country St Lucia.

Philip and Nancy Joseph, the only T&T pair to have ever reached the semis of a NORCECA tournament before this event, were in Saturday's quarters – but with different partners.

Philip and Ayanna Dyette, who had also made it to the last eight in the previous leg three weeks ago in California, USA, did one better this time when they beat Debora Constanzo and Karla Montilla of the Dominican Republic 17-21, 21-12, 15-7.

However their semifinal opponents, Ingrid Morales and Natalia Alfaro of Costa Rica, had whipped the T&T No. 1 pair 21-15, 21-11 when they clashed earlier in the day in the round-robin phase of the competition.

Dyette and three-time national champ Philip, playing in their fifth event in this year's circuit, had whipped the pair from the United States Virgin Islands 21-16, 21-14 and the St Lucian No. 1 tandem 21-11, 21-8 earlier in the day, after beating St Lucia No. 2 21-14, 21-11 when the tournament served off the day before.

Joseph, who was out of action for over two years with injury shortly after she and Philip placed fourth in the first event of the 2010 NORCECA season in Dominican Republic, and Pauline Woodroffe lost their opening match 21-13, 21-6 against Morales and Alfaro.

But the T&T No. 2 pair then cruised past the St Lucian No. 2 pair 21-13, 21-7 and scored twice on Saturday – 21-16, 22-20 over the Antiguan pair and 21-11, 21-11 over the combination from St Vincent – to reach the quarters.

Woodroffe and six-time national champ Joseph were then eliminated, 21-12, 21-19 by Canadians Kristina Visek and Victoria Cowley.

The next leg will take place in Trinidad from November 17-19, and the 2012 tour will continue the weekend after in Panama and conclude with the 12th stage the following weekend in Aruba.