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Virgen and Ontiveros get good start at La Paz tournament

Mexican Lombardero Ontiveros sets for Olympian teammate Juan Virgen
 La Paz, Mexico, April 8, 2017 – Mexicans Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros had a flying start at the La Paz Beach Volleyball Tournament by winning their two pool matches on Friday, the opening day of the 2017 NORCECA Circuit’s first event of the year.

The home pair was one of four teams with double victories on day one of the double gender competition, joining compatriots Josue Gaxiola and Jose Rubio and Cubans Karell Pena and Daisel Quesada in Pool C and Guatemalans Andy Leonardo and Luis Garcia in Pool B. 

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Cubans Daisel Quesada and Karell Peña won their two matches on Friday

Rio Olympians Virgen and Ontiveros were cheered on by more than 4,000 spectators in the evening session and secured their pass to the quarterfinals phase after cruising 2-0 (21-9, 21-12) against Brian Kwasny and Dillon Lesniak of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Competing in Pool A, the top-seeded Virgen and Ontiveros of Mexico-A began their day with a thrilling 2-0 (21-16, 25-23) victory over Skylar del Sol and Jon Mesko of United States-B in 41 minutes.  

Gaxiola/ Rubio defeated Nicaragua’s Dany Lopez/ Ruben Mora 2-0 (21-12, 21-18) and Reid Priddy/ Stafford Slick of United States-A 2-0 (21-16, 21-13). Peña/ Quesada defeated Priddy/ Slick 2-0 (21-18, 21-12) and Lopez/ Mora 2-0 (21-14, 21-6). 

Leonardo/ Garcia began their successful day with a 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) win against Costa Rica’s Jonathan Guevara and Sebastian Valenciano and closed it by scoring an upset 2-0 (21-18, 18-21, 15-10) victory over Aaron Nusbaum and Ryan Vandenburg of Canada-B.

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Cuban Leila Martinez with her jump serve against Canada

In the women’s event, Cubans Lidiannis Echeverria and Leila Martinez also won their two matches on the first day, including one over the top-seeded Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada.

Echeverria and Martínez, who won a silver medal as a team in Varadero in 2015 but have been playing as a team only sporadically, opened Friday with a morning victory 2-0 (21-7, 21-14) victory over Costa Ricans Marcela Araya and Valeria Valenciano in just 27 minutes.

The Cuban duo returned to action in the afternoon session to outduel Bansley and Wilkerson 2-1 (21-18, 22-24, 17-15) in 53 minutes.

In Pool B, American Besti Flint and Kelly Larsen of United States-B defeated Ana Rios and Zaira Orellana of Mexico-B 2-0 (21-9, 21-6) and Taylor Pischke and Kristina May of Canada-B swept Rios/ Orellana 2-0 (21-13, 21-10).

In Pool C, Ana Rios and Xitlali Herrera of Mexico-A subdued Nicaragua’s Swan Mendoza and Lolette Rodriguez 2-0 (21-11, 21-16), and Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day of United States-A beat Mendoza/ Rodriguez 2-0 (21-11, 21-11).

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Members of Mexican army salute the national flag at opening ceremony

The official opening ceremony took place before the start of the evening session and was attended by the state governor of Baja California Sur, H.E. Carlos Mendoza Davis.

Over 4,000 spectators crowded the stands of the main court as Mendoza Davis highlighted the contribution of sport events to the growth of the tourism in the region.

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Governor of Baja California Sur Carlos Mendoza Davis pronounces inaugural speech

The governor welcomed the athletes, who hail from nine countries. Thanks to sports events like this one, the state has experience a growth of 17 percent of visitors this year, and the governor promised that his administration will continue supporting the hosting of competitions for the benefit of the fans.

Previously, NORCECA delegate Angel Rivas, speaking on behalf of confederation President Cristobal Marte Hoffiz, expressed gratitude to the state government for its support and hoped it would continue next year so the fans can enjoy the excitement generated by a high-level tournament like those organized by the confederation.

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Teams representing nine countries at La Paz BVB Tournament

Mexican players Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros presented Gov. Mendoza with an official ball autographed by all the players to thank him for the great hospitality received by all the delegations taking part in the event.

Friday’s Men Results

Pool A: ISV d TRI 2-0 (21-11, 21-19), MEX-A d USA-B 2-0 (21-16, 25-23), MEX-A d ISV 2-0 (21-9, 21-12), USA-b d TRI 2-0 (21-12 21-17). Pool B: GUA d CAN-B 2-1 (21-18, 18-21, 15-10), CAN-A d CRC 2-0 (21-11, 21-16), CAN-B d CAN-A 2-0 (32-30, 21-16), GUA d CRC 2-0 (21-15, 21-13). Pool C: MEX-B d NCA 2-0 (21-12, 21-18), CUB d USA-A 2-0 (21-18, 21-12), CUB d NCA 2-0 (21-14, 21-6), MEX-B d USA-A 2-0 (21-16, 21-13).

Women’s Friday Results

Pool A: CUB d CRC 2-0 (21-7 21-14), CUB d CAN-A 2-1 (18-21 22-24 15-17), Pool B: USA d MEX-B 2-0 (21-9 21-6), CAN-B d MEX-B 2-0 (21-13 21-10), Pool C: MEX-A d (21-11 21-16), USA-A d NCA 2-0 (21-11 21-11).

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