NORCECA beach circuit kicks off at La Paz
La Paz, Mexico, April 5, 2017 – The NORCECA Beach Volleyball season gets underway on Friday, when the double-gender tournament at La Paz in the state of Baja California Sur kicks off for the second consecutive year.
Twelve male and nine female duos have registered to play in the opening event of the 2017 NORCECA Circuit, including the continent’s all-time most successful player Juan Virgen partnering with Lombardo Ontiveros. Virgen has won a total of 32 tournaments, while Ontiveros has 18 titles, all but one with Virgen.
Other big names in the men’s tournament are Punta Cana back-to-back winners Karell Pena and Daisel Quesada of Cuba. Stafford Slick and former volleyball standout Reid Priddy will spearhead the United States’ campaign in the circuit.
The women’s event also features great teams with winning traditions in the continental and international scene, including Canada’s Brandie Wilkerson, who won last year’s La Paz leg with Julie Gordon. This year Wilkerson will be teaming up with Heather Bansley.
Three-time gold medallist Taylor Pischke of Canada is entering the event with Kristina May, while the United States will be represented by the powerful duos of Betsi Flint/Kelly Larsen and Brittany Hochevar and four-time winner Emily Day.
In the inaugural event last year, Cuban duo Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez swept USA pair William Allen and Stafford Slick 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) to win the gold medal and the top prize of US$3,000 in the men’s event.
Canadians Julie Gordon and Brandie Wilkerson topped the podium in the women’s tournament, following their 2-1 (19-21, 21-11, 15-10) win over Kelly Reeves and Allison Daley-McColloch of USA.
USA siblings Trevor and Taylor Crabb won the men’s bronze medals, while Kimberly Dicello and Kendra Vanzwieten finished third among the women.