CAC player and Youth Olympian unbeaten at Saith Park.
AYANA DYETTE played unbeaten and won back-to-back tournaments with a new partner when the second leg of the Trinidad and Tobago Volleyball Federation’s (TTVF) Beach Series served off over the weekend at Saith Park, Chaguanas.
After being half of the dominant pair in the country and English-speaking Caribbean last year, the 28-year-old was forced to combine with Malika Davidson when Nancy Joseph recently decided to take break because of work committments.
Davidson, who played two of the five tournaments in the first leg last month, is undoubtedly a rising star as she and Chelsi Ward flew the red, white and back flag in the World Under-21 Beach Volleyball Championships in Croatia in 2013 and in the Youth Olympic Games in China last year.
Playing their first match together, Dyette and the 19-year-old took some time to get into stride, but managed to recover after the slow start to defeat Elki Philip and Shenelle Gordon 15-21, 21-18, 15-7.
There were just three female pairs involved in the round-robin tournament so when Dyette and Davidson trounced Apphia Glasgow and La Teisha Joseph 21-14, 21-12 they were crowned champs. What made this victory even more impressive was the fact that Glasgow and Joseph had clinched the first leg two weeks ago.
But the youngsters definitely started this one on the backfoot as they were also beaten (22-20, 21-15) by Gordon and Philip. The same three pairs entered the tournament the day after and the order of finish was unchanged. Dyette and Davidson were 21-15, 23-21 winners over Philip and Gordon and then took the title with with a commanding 21-11, 21-14 triumph over Glasgow and Joseph, who also lost (21-13, 13-21, 21-6) against Gordon and Philip.
Dyette and Nancy Joseph first combined in October 2012 and made an immediate impact when they just missed the podium with a fourth-placed effort in the Trinidad leg the NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) Beach Volleyball Tour.
In addition to competing in six of the ten NORCECA tournaments last year, the top-ranked duo also played unbeaten in nine local events, but left the best for last as they reached the quarterfinals of the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Mexico in late November.
It was the second straight CAC Games for Dyette and also the second for Joseph, who made her debut at this level in 2006 and was heavily favoured to make the team four years later, — with Philip — but was forced out of the qualifying series with a knee injury which eventually required surgery.
Joseph, the only beach volleyball nominee for Sportswoman of the Year, and Dyette did return together in the first leg of this year’s TTVF series, and although they were not at this best they did win two of the five tournaments and were narrowly edged by Glasgow and La Teisha Joseph for the top spot.
Both pairs earned the right to play in the first of three legs of Caribbean qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in Brazil. but as a result of Nancy Joseph’s withdrawal, the third-placed team of Philip and Gordon will accompany La Teisha Joseph and Glasgow to Jamaica late next month.
The second leg of the TTVF series will continue on Saturday and Sunday and conclude next week Saturday. The triumphant male and female pairs will be selected to participate in the Pan American Games in Canada in July.