T&T’s men beach volleyball team stayed in the hunt for a spot at the Rio Olympic Games beach volleyball tournament when they trounced St Kitts/Nevis 3-0 in their main draw double elimination quarterfinal of the Third Round of the NORCECA Inter-Continental Men’s Beach Volleyball Olympic at Pigeon Point, St Lucia, yesterday.
Despite the absence of Fabien Whitefield, a key member of the top pairing with Daniel Williams due to a back injury, T&T had a relatively easy day with Williams and Simon Blake beating Stedroy Collins and Rohan Collins 21-15, 21-10 for a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Late inclusion to the T&T squad, Christian Francois then paired with Colin Bernard to beat St Clair Hodge and Kemroy Percival 21-17, 22-20 before Toco duo, Blake and Williams humbled Hodge and Percival 21-9, 21-19 to seal a 3-0 victory and a main draw semifinal encounter with the winner of the Guatemala and Curacao encounter.
In the other main draw semis, US Virgin Islands tackles Costa Rica after they defeated St Lucia and Jamaica, both by 3-1 margins. The duo captured a first ever silver medal on the fourth stop of the 2016 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit in Costa Rica last month to add to their three previous bronze medals won on the tour since making their debut in 2008.
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 ahead of Jamaica.
This was followed by a runner-up finish in the CAZOVA/Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) Second Round series held in Antigua & Barbuda in January of this year where T&T represented by Whitfield and Williams, and Francois/Blake were beaten in the final by US Virgin Islands.
Jamaica took third ahead of fellow qualifiers Curacao and the quartet along with fifth to eighth placed finishers St Lucia, Barbados, St Kitts/Nevis and Suriname will compete against Central America’s qualifiers, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador for qualification spots to the Fourth Round.