Former top T&T women’s NORCECA representatives Elki Phillip and Nancy Joseph turned back the clock when they topped the second of three women’s T&T Volleyball Federation beach wolleyball qualifying tournaments on Saturday at the T&TVF Beach Volleyball Development Centre, Saith Park Park, Chaguanas.
Competing in a five-team round-robin series, the pair of Phillip and Joseph, who had a best ever finish of fourth placed on the NORCECA Beach Circuit, ended with a 4-0 record.
Their wins included, a 21-15, 21-6 defeat of teenagers Kaitlyn Mitchell and Nicole De Mille; a come-from-behind win over runner-up Abby Blackman and Rheeza Grant 11-21, 21-19, 15-6; 21-12, 21-19 against La Teisha Joseph and Delicia Pierre; and 21-8, 21-4 beating of Asma Charles and Danielle Noel.
Winners of last week’s first round-robin qualifiers, Blackman and Grant, both former national women’s indoor team players had to settle for second this time around with a 3-1 record.
This after they swept aside Charles/Noel 21-12; Mitchell/De Mille 21-9, 21-13 and Joseph/Pierre in a three-setter, 15-21, 21-15, 15-9. Jospeh and Pierre ended third with a 2-2 mark courtesy victories over Charles/Noel 21-9, 22-20 and Mitchell/De Mille 21-12 21-7, while in the other match, Charles/Noel won 21-9, 21-13 from Mitchell/De Mille.
The final round of qualifiers took place on Sunday at the same venue after which the national selection committee will choose the second pair to join top duo, Ayana Dyette and Malika Davidson to represent this country in their Third Round Olympic Qualifiers to be held in El Salvador next month.
When the NORCECA Women Olympic qualifiers began last year, Phillip paired with Shenelle Gordon while Joseph partnered Apphia Glasgow to earn T&T third spot behind host Jamaica and Cayman Islands in CAZOVA Round One.
But in Round Two which was also staged in Jamaica, Dyette and Davidson, and Glasgow and Joseph led T&T to the gold medal over Barbados. Among the men, the pair of Technocrats players, Marlon “Waldo” Phillip” and Enrique Henry defeated Tevin Edwards and Kareem Thomas in their final 21-9, 21-17.
The eventual chanpions had earlier topped a four-team pool with a 3-0 record followed by a 21-16, 21-6 semifinal win over Dantye Stewart and Stephon Valley while Edwards and Thomas outlasted Darron Oxford and Akim Andrews 18-21, 21-13, 15-13.
With Fabien Whitfield and Daneil Williams, who won a historic NORCECA Beach Tour silver on nine days ago in Costa Rica, established as T&T’s top duo and guaranteed a spot as part of the Olympic team the other pair will be selected when the qualifiers conclude with two more days of competition on Saturday and Sunday as T&T looks ahead to the Third Round of Norceca Continental Beach Volleyball Olympic qualifiers scheduled for St Lucia next month.
Last year when T&T hosted the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Round One qualifiers, Whitfield and Williams and second pair, Tevin Joseph and Josiah Eccles won gold.
This was followed by a runner-up finish in the CAZOVA/Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association Second Round series held in Antigua & Barbuda earlier where T&T represented by Whitfield/Williams and Christian Francois/Blake were beaten in the final by US Virgin Islands.
Men Round-Robin results
Tevin Edwards/Kareem Thomas bt Sheldon Thomas/Seon Prince 21-17, 21-18
Dantye Stewart/Stephon Valley bt Sheldon/Seon Prince 21-12, 25-23
Tevin Edwards/Kareem Thomas bt Dantye Stewart/Stephon Valley 21-12, 21-12
Marlon Phillip/Enrique Henry bt Darron Oxford/Akim Andrews 21-13, 20-22, 15-10
Leon Demurell/Josiah Eccles bt Adriel Roberts/Nathaniel Noreiga 21-19, 20-22, 15-13
Marlon Phillip/Enrique Henry bt Leon Demurrel/Josiah Eccles 21-16, 21-18
Adriel Roberts/Nathaniel Noreiga bt Darron Oxford/Akim Andrews 21-14, 14-21, 17-15
Marlon Phillip/Enrique Henry bt Adriel Roberts/Nathaniel Noreiga 19-21 , 21-14, 15-5
Darron Oxford/Akim Andrews bt Leon Demurell/Josiah Eccles 10-21, 21-15, 15-10