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‘Toco Boys’ ninth in NORCECA

TRINIDAD and Tobago’s top two beach volleyball pairs will be training in California, USA, ahead of the Pan American Games in Canada, starting next weekend.

The Daneil Williams/Fabian Whitfield and Ayana Dyette/Malika Davidson combinations were scheduled to travel straight to the US west coast at the conclusion of the second leg of the 2015 NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) Beach Volleyball Tour, Sunday, in the Dominican Republic.

Both pairs failed to advance from the round-robin stage in the three-day tournament.

But after winning one of the three matches in the group phase, Whitfield and Williams beat pairs from Bonaire (21-9, 21-9), Panama (21-11, 21-7) and Jamaica (21-10, 14-25, 15-9) to win the consolation tournament and finish ninth overall.

Playing in their first NORCECA tournament together, Davidson and Dyette lost all three matches in the group stage as well as their only one in the consolation round.

They only joined forces only two months ago when Nancy Joseph, the country’s most celebrated beach volleyball player, decided to take a break from the game.

Dyette and Joseph competed in six of the ten events on last year’s NORCECA circuit and then finished the season with an impressive quarterfinal effort in the CAC (Central America and the Caribbean) Games in Mexico in late November.

After also flying the red, white and black flag in the CAC Games, Williams and Whitfield have raised their level this season.

After winning all ten local tournaments, the “Toco Boys” placed ninth in the first tournament of the NORCECA calendar in Cayman Islands in late April and two weeks later they were instrumental in T&T being crowned Caribbean champs.

This performance at home also earned the country’s men a place in the second round of regional qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in Brazil. Davidson already has Olympic experience as she and Chelsi Ward represented the country in last year’s Youth Olympics in China after competing in the World Under-21 Beach Volleyball Championships in 2013.

The Pan Am Games will begin in Canada next week Friday and the beach volleyball discipline will serve off the following Monday (July 13) and conclude on July 21.

The T&T players are expected to return to Canada a couple weeks later to compete in the third leg of the NORCECA series (from August 7-9).

There are 12 legs in this year’s circuit, which is scheduled to conclude in Trinidad in mid-November.