Diego Martin-born duo, Ayana Dyette and Malika Davidson kept T&T women hopes of a top eighth place finish at the 12-team double-elimination NORCECA Continental Cup Beach Volleyball qualifiers to the Rio de Janiero Olympic Games alive with a “Golden Set” win over Jamaica at Guayman, Sonora, Mexico, yesterday. T&T played Guatemala in a losing semi-final last night.
Having had their chances of earning a ticket to Mexico dashed against host Barbados on Thursday, the T&T women battled past Cayman Islands on Friday in another “Golden Set” finish and 24 hours later, Dyette and Davidson were at it again, this time with a 15-13 win against Danielle Perry and Kai Wright to set up a clash with Barbados, more than likely for seventh place when they clash today.
T&T got off to a poor start with B-team Rheeza Grant and Abby Blackman losing to Perry and Wright 14-21, 8-21 before Dyette and Davidson spanked Reane Temple and Sashalee Wallen 21-9, 21-12 to even the series at 1-1.
Perry and Wright then outplayed Dyette and Davidson 21-11, 21-15, but Grant and Blackman then kept T&T alive courtesy a timely 21-18, 21-18 win over Temple and Wallen to set up the “Golden Set” clash.
On Friday night, T&T-A’s Ayana Dyette and Malika Davidson won a “Golden Set” with Cayman Islands’ Stefania Gandolfi and Jessica Wolfenden 15-7 in the quarterfinal ninth placed playoff for a 3-2 triumph.
Dyette and Davidson won their two other pool matches, 16-21, 21-11, 15-9 against Chante Smith-Johnson and Illean Powery, as well as Gandolfi and Wolfenden 21-18, 21-8 while T&T-B duo, Rheeza Grant and Abby Blackman were beaten in both their matches, 11-21, 15-21 by Gandolfi and Wolfenden, and 26-28, 16-21 to Smith-Johnson, and Powery
This after the T&T women’s pair of Dyette and Davidson was surprisingly beaten in a “Golden Set” by Barbadians Shari Matthews and Anicia Woods 12-15 to miss out on a quarterfinal spot 2-3 on Thursday. In the other matches, Jamaica whipped St Lucia 3-0, Nicaragua overcame Suriname 3-1 and Barbados blanked El Salvador 3-0.
In yesterday’s main draw semifinals Costa Rica stunned Cuba 3-1, and Mexico brushed aside Guatemala 3-0. Powerhouses USA and Canada both have already qualified the maximum of two teams per country to the Olympics through the FIVB Olympic Ranking and are not involved in the qualifiers.
The local men’s team of Daneil Williams and Simon Blake, and Christian Francois and Colin Bernard missed out on a top eight finish in their 12-team qualifiers after losing to El Salvador 2-3 via the “Golden Set” in their fifth to eight spot quarterfinal.
This after Williams and Blake were beaten in the fifth and deciding “Golden Set” clash, 8-15 by El Salvador’s David Vargas and Carlos Escobar.
Earlier on Vargas and Escobar defeated Francois and Bernard 16-21, 21-19, 15-7 before Williams and Blake leveled the match by battling past Franklin Flores and Rodrigo Chavez 21-19, 22-24, 15-11.
The top T&T duo of Williams and Blake then put their team ahead 2-1 with a 21-11, 22-20 win over Vargas and Escobar, but with a chance to seal the win, Francois and Bernard came up short, in a 10-21, 21-18, 9-15 loss to Flores and Chavez, before Vargas and Escobar exacted revenge on Williams and Blake in the one-set decider.
Joining El Salvador in the fifth to eight playoffs were St Lucia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua after wins over Suriname (3-2 Golden Set), Guatemala (3-2 Golden Set), and US Virgin Islands (3-0) respectively.
Nicaragua then defeated Costa Rica 3-0 and St Lucia whipped El Salvador 3-1 to book spots in the playoffs for fifth to eight place with the other ties yet to be decided.
In the main draw semifinals Cuba led host Mexico 2-0 and Canada was also in command against Puerto Rico 2-0.
With USA having qualified two men’s teams to the Olympics, the focus of the competition is on Canada (one team qualified), Mexico (one team qualified) and Cuba, and only the winners of the final will qualify to the Olympics while the second and third place teams in both genders will be entitled to play in the FIVB World Continental Cup, which will provide two final slots to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.