Cuba was victorious in both genders of the recently concluded Varadero Beach Volleyball Tournament in Varadero Cuba, the second stop of the 2022 Norceca Beach Volleyball Tour.

Leila Martinez and Lidy Echeverría were crowned at home as queens of the women's segment. The pair of Martínez and Echeverría prevailed against Canadians Emma Glagau and Ruby Sorra 2-1 (21-12, 19-21, 15-12) in a close duel. USA pair of Iya Lindhal and Alexandra Wheeler won third place after defeating Guatemalans Natalia Girón and Laura Quiñones 2-0 (21-14, 21-19).

Miguel Ayón and Yosvani Carrasco completed the Cuban double victory. Ayon and Carrasco scored a comfortable 2-0 (21-13, 21-17) win over the American duo of Travis Mewhirter and Thimothy Brewster. Third place went to another Cuban pair Jorge Luis Alayo and Noslen Díaz who edged Americans Ryan Smith and Michael Boag 2-1 (18-21, 21-12, 15-12).

The Jamaican pair of Ryck Webb and Noley Ferguson placed 14th of 16 teams. Coming into the tournament the Jamaicans were seeded 15. They played and lost their first two games against the eventual 2nd and 4th place teams USA A and USA B.

General Secretary of the Jamaica Volleyball Association, Audley Weir is optimistic based on the performances of the team.

“Jamaica did well under challenging circumstances. We saw a lot of positives from this trip. The team was very competitive against the Americans who are a volleyball powerhouse in the World. We will regroup and prepare for the next tournament,” Weir said.

Jamaica was the highest placed team from the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) region. The Jamaican women’s team will participate in the next leg of the Norceca Beach Circuit which will be held in La Paz, Mexico from May 13 – 16, 2022.

A women’s pair of Chauna Kelly and Petal Smith will depart Jamaica on Friday for the Dominican Republic where they will participate in the Beach World Championship Qualifiers from April 16-18, 2022.

Jamaica will play in Group A alongside Canada, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Curacao. Group B comprises Cuba, Mexico, US Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and the Cayman Islands.

Each team will play in a round-robin format with the top two teams from each group advancing to the 2022 Beach Volleyball World Championship which will take place in Rome, Italy from June 7th to 19th, 2022.

Jamaica is resuming competition in beach volleyball after a two-year hiatus prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The team will be accompanied by Coach Oneil Ebanks.

A profligate Jamaica got off to a poor start, losing 0-1 to Guatemala in the opening match in Group H to start the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship at the Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic on Saturday.

Jamaica had a penalty saved in the 67th minute, a microcosm of their poor play during the match in which the young Reggae Girlz spurned several chances to take the lead. Guatemala also had opportunities but was kept at bay by Reggae Girlz goalkeeper Liya Brooks, whose stellar work spared Jamaica blushes.

Guatemala found a breakthrough late when substitute Maria Contreras pounced on a loose ball in the area in the 90’ and found the back of the net with an excellent left-footed finish for the 1-0 win.

In the second game of the day in San Cristobal, 2020 CWU20 semifinalists Haiti edged Cuba 2-1.

Haiti enjoyed a 2-0 halftime lead thanks to scores from Valentina Ornis in the 31’ and Rose-Ayla Marcellus in the 41’.

But Cuba hung tough and made it a dramatic final 19 minutes when Yerly Palma pulled a goal back in the 71’ to make it 2-1.

After the frantic final minutes counted down, the split points left the Trinidad and Tobago squad, as well as Guatemala’s, eliminated. Despite the elimination, both teams can be proud of their effort.

After an injury during warmups, Trinidad and Tobago were forced to adjust their lineup, replacing defender Neveal Hackshaw with Jelani Peters.

In the 12th minute, T&T right back Alvin Jones rampaged up the field on a quick counterattack then crossed to Reon Moore. Moore made a run on the right side of the goal and hit a hard, low shot past young Guatemalan goalkeeper Kenderson Navarro that found the goalpost and bounced in for the goal.

Attempting to manage the game, Trinidad and Tobago showed patience, especially in allowing Guatemala to take rushed shots from outside, but closing them down effectively and at times physically when any players entered the box.

In the second half, as Guatemala fought harder to find the equalizer, Trinidad and Tobago’s defense cracked under the pressure from Guatemala in the 77th minute, when Ceballos served in a corner kick. Gerardo Gordillo rose high in the box to meet the ball, heading it in well past Marvin Phillip, the Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper and captain.

The tenor of the game changed as both teams, hungry for an outright win, traded half-chances on both ends of the field. T&T's Jones had a shot go off the post in the best possibility for either team.

After the frantic final minutes counted down, the split points left the Trinidad and Tobago squad, as well as Guatemala’s, eliminated. Despite the elimination, both teams can be proud of their effort.

Trinidad and Tobago manager Angus Eve, the team’s most-capped player in their history, knew the team didn’t completely control its destiny in Group A but believed his squad could hold their head high no matter the outcome if they played well.

“We are very confident,” Eve said.

The team rewarded his belief, playing a smart match to hold an early advantage for most of the game. Yet Guatemala was brave in its own right, fighting back to find an equalizer and ensure they left the Gold Cup with at least one positive result. As Guatemala’s coach, Rafael Loredo said before kickoff, “If we want to grow, we need to have international competition.”

It is both sides' participation and matches like this that make the Gold Cup special.

 

Guatemala are a step closer to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup group stage after posting a 4-0 victory against Guyana in the First Round of the 2021 Gold Cup Prelims on Saturday night at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Haiti will take on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala faces Guyana while Trinidad and Tobago will go up against Monserrat when Round One of the preliminaries of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on July 2 and 3 at Inter Miami CF Stadium in Florida.

Cuba will tackle French Guiana, Guadeloupe will battle The Bahamas and Bermuda go up against Barbados in what will be the first time ever that the competition will have preliminaries that will see three teams qualify for the 16-team Group Stage.

“We look forward with great anticipation to this summer’s Gold Cup, which will undoubtedly be enhanced by this new Preliminary Round,” said Concacaf President and FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani.

“The past year has been very challenging in our region and our thoughts are with all the communities that have suffered. We hope the opportunity to watch the best men’s national teams in Concacaf compete in our flagship tournament can provide fans with some hope and enjoyment

All 12 of the competing nations in the Prelims will get a full Gold Cup experience at the excellent Inter Miami facilities and we look forward to a great set of games.”

“We look forward to hosting the Gold Cup Prelims tournament in our stadium,” said Inter Miami CF Managing Owner Jorge Mas. “Our facilities in Fort Lauderdale were built with the intent of giving our fans opportunities to enjoy the world’s game knowing that our vibrant culture and sports-centric region would be attractive for global teams and competitions. This is just the beginning of the great things that lie ahead.”

Round Two will begin on July 6 when the winner of the Haiti/St Vincent clash will take on the winner of the Bermuda/Barbados matchup. The winner of the Guatemala/Guyana encounter will play the winner of the Guadeloupe/Bahamas match. And finally, the winner of the Cuba/French Guiana match will tackle the winner of the Trinidad and Tobago/Montserrat clash.

The winning nation in each of the three Round Two matchups will advance to the Group Stage of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, where they were drawn into Group A, B and C as follows:

Group A: Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao, and Winner Prelims 9

Group B: USA, Canada, Martinique, and Winner Prelims 7

Group C: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname, and Winner Prelims 8

Group D: Honduras, Panama, Grenada, and Qatar.

The 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup group stage will kick off on July 10 and run through August 1, 2021, and will feature 16 national teams, of which Canada, Costa Rica, Curaçao, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, eight-time and defending champion Mexico, Panama, Suriname, six-time champion the United States, are already qualified to the group stage of the tournament. Additionally, Qatar has been invited to the tournament as the current champion and representative of the Asian Football Confederation.

The remaining three countries will qualify through the Gold Cup Prelims, in which 12 Member Associations will compete for the final three spots, to be played July 2-6- at Inter Miami CF Stadium in South Florida.

 

 

St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, The Dominican Republic and Guatemala opened their World Cup qualifying campaigns with victories on Wednesday night.

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