USA’s Falyn Fonoimoana and Corinne Quiggle won a second straight women’s gold medal as the 2019 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tournament’s tenth and final stop concluded here Sunday.
In the final, Fonoimoana and Quiggle battled past Cubans Lidiannis Rodriguez and Yanisleidis Sanche 2-1 (27-25, 15-21, 15-13) in five minutes short of an hour.
It was a see-saw match from the onset with the USA racing out to a 14-8 lead in the opening set only for Cuba to draw level at 14-14. In fact, the Cubans had the first chance at set point when they led 20-19 and then had two more attempts before USA finally ended the set on their fourth attempt.
Cuba enjoyed a much better start to the second set and won it comfortably in a slight drizzle of rain as they threatened to mount a serious turn-around by setting up an interesting deciding third set.
The third set was a replica of the first with USA racing out to a 5-1 advantage only for the Cubans to pull within a point at 14-13 before a ball into the net ended the contest in the Americans’ favour.
Speaking after the win, which followed their triumph in the Dominican Republic in the previous leg, Fonoimoana said it was very important for them to build on their previous win.
“We are a new team and for us to continue to grow it was a perfect way to end the season. I am very happy to be playing with her and it has been a real blessing,” Fonoimoana told Guardian Media.
For Fonoimoana, it was her fifth medal of the tour this season to add to two silver medals won in Mexico and Cayman Islands as well as a bronze in Cuba, all with previous partner Nicolette Martin, while it was the third medal for Quiggle, who also won a silver this season with Amanda Dowdy in Mexico.
In the semifinals, USA-A defeated Nicaraguans Valeria Mendoza and Lolette Rodriguez 2-0 (21-12, 21-8) and Cuba stopped Curacao’s Angjeny Tolentino and Leandra Savonije 2-0 (21-17, 21-11).
Mendoza and Rodriguez ended with the bronze medals after beating Tolentino and Savonije 2-1 (21-16, 17-21, 15-11). Despite the loss, Curacao equalled the best ever showing of fourth by a Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) team, which was also ahieved in 2011 by Trinidad and Tobago’s Nancy Joseph and Elki Phillip.
Meanwhile, USA-B’s Paul Lotman and 17-year-old Miles Partain captured the men’s title after they came from behind to beat Nicaraguans Ruben Mora and Denis Jose Luis 16-21,21-15, 15-13 in 49 minutes.
The elated duo, playing for the first time on the tour, had earlier defeated countrymen Chaim Schalk and Jeremy Casebeer (USA-A) 21-15, 15-21, 15-12 while the Nicaraguans beat Canada-A’s Liam Kopp and Jake Mac Neil 21-16, 21-13.
Commenting on their win, Partain said, “I went into the tournament without any fear despite being so young. I just came out to play and do my best in every match.”
Lotman added, “The event was a very well put together one and for me and my team-mate it was aa great experience. For us to play together was great and to get to the final first time and win was even better.”
In the bronze medal match, Schalk and Casebeer won 21-13, 21-14.
USA-A bt NICARAGUA 21-12, 21-8
CUBA bt CURACAO 21-17, 21-11
USA d CUB 2-1 (27-25, 15-21, 15-13)
NICARAGUA bt CAN-A 21-16, 21-13
USA-B bt USA-A 21-15, 15-21, 15-12
USA-B by NICARAGUA 16-21, 21-15, 15-13