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Mexicans to duel in semifinals at NORCECA's La Paz tournament

Mexican coach Salvador Gonzalez talks to pupils Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros during a break
 La Paz, Mexico, April 8, 2017 – Mexican fans won’t know which way to turn on Sunday when two home duos will be pitted against each other in the men’s semifinals of the first event of the 2017 NORCECA Circuit at La Paz.

Top-seeded Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros will be facing the challenge of compatriots and emerging tandem Jose Rubio and Josue Gaxiola, while Cubans Karell Pena and Daisel Quesada will take on Skylar del Sol and Jon Mesko of United States-A in the other semifinal.

Both Mexican teams eliminated Canadian pairs in the quarterfinals on Saturday, with the help of their enthusiastic home fans.

Omaha 2015
Jose Rubio and Josue Gaxiola will challenge compatriots Virgen and Ontiveros

Olympians Virgen/ Ontiveros were first to qualify for the final four with a 2-0 (21-13, 21-17) victory over Michael Plantinga and Grant O’Gorman of Canada-A, while Rubio/ Gaxiola dispatched Aaron Nusbaum and Ryan Vandeburg 2-0 (21-12, 21-13) to reach the semifinals.

Pena/ Quesada achieved a 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) victory against Brian Kwasny and Dillon Lesniak of U.S. Virgin Islands while Mesko and Del Sol overcame Guatemala’s Andy Leonardo and Luis Garcia 2-1 (16-21, 21-18, 15-9).

Meanwhile, the women’s defending champion Brandie Wilkerson and her current partner Heather Bansley are ready to meet fellow Canadians Kristina May and Taylor Pischke in Sunday’s semifinals.

Cubans Lidiannis Echeverria and Leila Martinez will play the USA team of Kelley Larsen and Betsi Flint in the other semifinal.

Wilkerson/Bansley of Canada-A advanced to the final following a gruelling 2-1 (28-26, 15-21, 15-9) victory over Brittany Hochevar and Emily Day of United States-A, while May/ Pischke advanced with a comfortable 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) win over Mexico’s Claudia Rios and Xitlali Herrera.

The very athletic Echeverria and Martinez cruised past Nicaragua’s Swan Mendoza and Lolette Rodriguez 2-0 (21-10, 21-11), while Larsen and Flint also had an easy route to the semifinals following their 2-0 (21-11, 21-9) triumph over Costa Rica’s Valerie Valenciano and Marcela Araya.

Men's Results
Pool A
MEX-A d TRI 2-0 (21-8, 21-13)
ISV d USA-B 2-1 (21-19, 21-23, 15-12)
Pool B
GUA d CAN-A 2-1 (21-19, 12-21, 15-9)
CAN-B d CRC 2-0 (21-10, 21-18)
Pool C
CUB d MEX-B 2-0 (21-17, 21-17)
USA-A d NCA 2-0 (21-0, 21-0)
MEX-A d CAN-A 2-0 (21-13, 21-17)
CUB d ISV 2-0 (21-17, 21-15)
MEX-B d CAN-B 2-0 (21-12, 21-13)
USA-B d GUA 2-1 (16-21, 21-18, 15-9)

Women's Results
Pool A
CAN-A d CRC 2-0 (21-18, 21-2)
Pool B
USA-B d CAN-B 2-0 (21-19, 21-15)
Pool C
USA-A d MEX-A 2-0 (21-10, 21-12)
CUB d NCA 2-0 (21-10, 21-11)
CAN-B d MEX-A 2-0 (21-15, 21-15)
CAN-A d USA-A 2-1 (28-26, 15-21, 15-9)
USA-B d CRC 2-0 (21-11, 21-9).

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