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Williams, Blake for Cayman Islands beach v-ball
T&T will be represented by Toco-born duo, Daneil Williams and Simon Blake when the first stage of the Norceca Tour, the Cayman Islands beach volleyball tournament takes place in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, from Friday until Sunday.
It will mark the first time that both Williams and Blake, who are no strangers to the tour will be playing as partners. Williams who normally partners another Toco-born player, Fabien Whitfield was forced into having a new team-mate for the first tournament of the season after the latter opted out due to exams.
Last year on the tour, Williams and Whitfield combined for a quarterfinal showing in Cayman Islands prior to their historic bronze medal performance at home in November. Blake also teamed up with Whitfield to compete at the Boca Chica, Dominican Republic competition in the absence of an injured Williams while he paired with Colin Bernard at home in November.
And based on the local men’s team performances during the 2012 Norceca beach tour which resulted in an end-of-year joint sixth spot ranking with Puerto Rico, T&T was able to qualify to compete at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship Under-21 and U-23 Tournaments to be held in Poland and Croatia respectively later this year. The U-23 tournament comes off from June 6 to 9 in Myslowice, Poland while the Under-21s will play in Umag, Croatia, from June 20 to 23.
This was announced by Daymian Stewart, president of the T&T Volleyball Federation who noted that the qualification for the tournaments, both by T&T and fellow Caribbean nation, St Lucia was based on the performances of their senior beach volleyball teams on the NORCECA Beach Tour last year. During the tour, the local pair of Daneil Williams and Fabien Whitfield earned a first ever beach volleyball medal for T&T, a bronze on home soil last November to help the locals to an overall men’s ranking of joint sixth with Puerto Rico.
Other participants on the men’s tour for T&T included, Christian Francois, Kevin Rivers and Blake while the women’s teams which featured Elki Phillip, Ayana Dyette, Nancy Joseph, Pauline Woodroffe, Shenelle Gordon, La-Teisha Joseph, Apphia Glasgow and Sherva Charles were ranked seventh.
T&T women’s teams had best placings of fourth twice on the 2012 tour at two separate events but their involvement in the first tournament was expected to be determined at a T&TVF executive meeting carded for yesterday. Prior the meeting Joseph and Woodroffe moved a step closer to representing this country in Cayman Cayman Islands after topping the qualifying tournament held at Saith Park, Chaguanas, yesterday.
In the final of the four-team tournament, Joseph and Woodroffe, who competed as a pair of the Norceca tour for one tournament last year in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico (August), battled past Ayana Dyette and Shenelle Gordon in two straight hard fought sets, 21-17, 23-21. Earlier on in the round-robin series, Joseph and Woodroffe had wins over Simone Amora and Kinisha Marshall 21-15, 21-19, and Glasgow and Phillip, 21-13, 21-9 while Dyette and Gordon defeated Glasgow and Phillip 21-10, 21-19, and Amora and Marshall, 21-17, 21-19.
Last year, the pair of Dyette and Phillip had a fourth-place finish in St Lucia after losing to Canada’s Kristina Vicek and Victoria Cowley in the bronze-medal contest on home soil in November, Dyette partnered Joseph for fourth as well, this time losing to the Costa Ricans Ingrid Morales and Natalia Alfaro 13-21, 10-21 in the bronze match.
From Wednesday in Cayman Islands, American Todd Rogers will be one of the main attractions over the course of the three day tournament. Rogers, one of the most famous beach volleyball players of all-time, teamed up with Phil Dalhausser to claim the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2007 FIVB World Championship in Gstaad, Switzerland and in Grand Cayman he will partner Ryan Doherty. Rogers and Dalhausser also took home the bronze medal at the FIVB 2009 Beach Volleyball World Championship in Stavanger, Norway.
The duo won the title of AVP Circuit for five consecutive years starting in 2007 and also established a record for the most single victories in a season for the FIVB Tour in 2011 when they finished as the top ranked team in the world.
The 39-year-old Rogers, nicknamed “The Professor”, and Dallhausser failed to defend their gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games as the pair was eliminated in the round of 16.
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