Intense First Day at NORCECA Women’s Olympic Qualifier

TLAXCALA, Mexico, June 21, 2024.- Five women pairs secured two wins each on the opening day of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament, leaving the Round of 16 to be decided on Saturday in Tlaxcala, Mexico.

In Pool A, the local duo of Atenas Gutiérrez and Susana Torres defeated teams from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Suriname. Nicaraguans Socorro López and Lolette Rodríguez, also beat the same teams. The first place in the pool will be determined on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

Atenas Gutiérrez from Mexico said: “We are happy to have secured the wins and are ready to take first place in the group tomorrow. We have met the goals we set for ourselves and are moving step by step with motivation and confidence”.

In Pool B, the Canadian duo of Heather Bansley and Sophie Bukovec started with comfortable wins against Guatemala and Grenada, while Paola Alvarado and María Orellana from Guatemala surprised Costa Rica.

Heather Bansley said: “We were very motivated to play today, it was really enjoyable, and we managed to make game adjustments considering the atmosphere here in Tlaxcala. The organizers did a great job, and we really enjoyed the vibe here. It’s great to be back in NORCECA; this is where I started playing, and it’s nice to see familiar faces. We are taking it one game at a time. We still have a pool-play match left, and that’s our approach, one match at a time”.

The Puerto Rican duo of Allanis Navas and María González dominated Pool C with wins over the Cayman Islands and El Salvador. They will compete for first place in their pool  against Jubileth Payano and Crismil Paniagua from the Dominican Republic, who also secured two wins against the same opponents.

María González from Puerto Rico commented: “It was a very good day. We came out strong to do our job, and we love the atmosphere. We’ve been here for a week and a half adapting, and we feel very prepared. We were aware of the altitude and the cold, which are factors, so we are ready for whatever comes next. We’ve been focused on this dream for a year and have worked for it very hard”.

Friday Results:

Pool A: Lopez/Lolette (NCA) d Bennet/Buckner (ISV) 2-1 (17-21, 21-14, 15-13); Gutiérrez/Torres MEX d Balkaran/Tammenga (SUR) 2-0 (21-12, 21-9); Lopez/Lolette (NCA) d Balkaran/Tammenga (SUR) 2-0 (21-16, 21-10);  Gutiérrez/Torres MEX d Bennet/Buckner (ISV) 2-0 (21-5, 21-9).

Pool B: Alvarado/Orellana (GUA) d Nuñez/Quesada (CRC) 2-1 (21-18, 10-21, 15-10); Bansley/Bukovec (CAN) d Thornia/Stafford (GRN) 2-0 (21-9, 21-5); Nuñez/Quesada (CRC) d Thornia/Stafford (GRN) 2-0 (21-7, 21-14); Bansley/Bukovec (CAN) d Alvarado/Orellana (GUA) 2-0 (21-9, 21-13).

Pool C: Payano/Paniagua (DOM) d Vigil/Tobar (ESA) 2-0 (21-13, 21-13);  Navas/González (PUR) d A. Delapenha/ B Delapenha (CAY) 2-0 (21-1, 21-7);  Navas/González (PUR) d Vigil/Tobar (ESA) 2-0 (21-8, 21-8); Payano/Paniagua (DOM) d A. Delapenha/ B Delapenha (CAY) 2-0 (21-6, 21-5).