Women’s Semifinals Set at the NORCECA Olympic Qualifier

TLAXCALA, Mexico, June 22, 2024. – Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic continue their quest to reach the Olympics, moving int’ the women’s semifinals at the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Olympic Qualifier Tournament.

Canadian Olympian Heather Bansley and teammate Sophie Bukovec secured their spot in the semifinals by winning Pool B and then dominating Amber Bennett and Taylor Buchner from the U.S. Virgin Islands with a convincing 2-0 (21-6, 21-11) win in the quarterfinals.

Puerto Rico

Bansley and Bukovec have been competing in Beach Pro Tour events, including a recent tournament in Guadalajara, where they secured third place. Here in Tlaxcala semifinals, they will face the 2023 Central American and Caribbean champions, Allanis Navas and María González of Puerto Rico, who defeated Socorro López and Lolette Rodríguez of Nicaragua with a solid 2-0 (21-4, 21-14) victory in their quarterfinal match.

Navas and González have been training for over a year to achieve their Olympic dream. This year, they earned two silver medals and one bronze in the NORCECA Tour events held in the Dominican Republic and Cuba, finishing sixth at the Continental Final in the Dominican Republic.


In the other bracket, Mexico’s Atenas Gutiérrez and Susana Torres advanced undefeated from Pool A and secured their semifinal spot by beating Ximena Nuñez and Kianny Araya of Costa Rica 2-0 (21-12, 21-15) in the quarterfinals.

The Mexican pair trained extensively in Brazil and this year finished third in the NORCECA Tour event in the Dominican Republic and matched that position in the NORCECA Tour Final.

Their semifinal opponents will be the Dominicans Jubileth Payano and Martha Paniagua, who defeated Paola Alvarado and María Orellana of Guatemala 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) in the quarterfinals.

Payano and Paniagua are always ranked among the top six pairs in NORCECA, although they have yet to reach the podium. They missed out on the bronze medal at the third stop of the 2024 NORCECA Tour in the Dominican Republic, losing to Puerto Rico’s Navas and González.

Payano-Paniagua DOM, celebrate

Quarterfinal Results

Navas/González PUR d Lopez/Lolette NCA 2-0 (21-4, 21-14); Payano/Paniagua DOM d Alvarado/Orellana GUA 2-0 (21-18, 21-15); Gutiérrez/Torres MEX d Nuñez/Araya CRC 2-0 (21-12, 21-15); Bansley/Bukovec CAN d Bennett/Buckner ISV 2-0 (21-6, 21-11).

Saturday’s Results / Women’s pool-play

Pool A: Gutiérrez/Torres MEX d López/Lolette NCA 2-0 (21-6, 21-11); Bennett/Buckner ISV d Balkaran/Tammenga SUR 2-0 (21-9, 21-6).

Pool B: Bansley/Bukovec CAN d Nuñez/Araya CRC 2-0 (21-7, 21-9); Alvarado/Orellana GUA d Thornia/Stafford GRN 2-0 (21-17, 21-16)

Pool C: Navas/González PUR d Payano/Paniagua DOM 2-0 (21-17, 21-10); Vigil/Tobar ESA d A. Delapenha/B Delapenha CAY 2-0 (21-6, 21-7).