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USA’s Frishman & Drost prepare Huntington Beach with victory in Cuba

The men's NORCECA Circuit’s Varadero Open podium where Americans Chase Frishman and James Drost (white tops) captured the gold medal.
Varadero, Cuba, April 29, 2018 - Americans Chase Frishman and James Drost upset three-time defending champions Nivaldo Díaz and Sergio González of Cuba here Sunday to claim the men’s crown at the NORCECA Circuit’s Varadero Open.

For Frishman and Drost, who will be competing this week in the FIVB's Huntington Beach Open, it was their second international beach volleyball gold medal together this season. The Americans posted a pair of upset wins at the start of February over top-seeded Australian teams (Cole Durant/Zachery Schubert in the semifinals and Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann in the finals) on their home sand in Shepparton to win the top spot on the FIVB World Tour podium.

After posting a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) semifinal win in 45 minutes over American rivals and fifth-seeded Troy Field/Reid Priddy, the fourth-seeded Frishman and Drost scored a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) win in 38 minutes over the top-seeded Diaz and González. The Cubans had won nine NORCECA and one FIVB World Tour titles together since 2014 and were fifth-place finishers at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Diaz and Gonzalez advanced to the semifinals with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) semifinal win in 42 minutes over second-seeded Aaron Nusbaum and Michael Plantinga of Canada. In the bronze medal match, Priddy and Field posted a 2-1 (21-18, 20-22, 15-12) win in 58 minutes over the Canadians.

“It was a great opportunity of playing against Sergio and Nivaldo, whom we respect a lot, and are good friends," said Drost after the match. "They have a nice style, but we always think about winning if we play our game without fear. Chase is with me everywhere, sometimes we lose and sometimes we win, and today was our day, very special. We won a gold in an FIVB event and many silvers in NORCECA but this one is our first gold medal."

In the women's Varadero finale, top-seeded Leila Martínez and Maylen Diaz of Cuba scored a 2-0 (21-16, 24-22) win in 39 minutes over second-seeded Amanda Dowdy and Irene Pollock of the United States on the courts next to the Barcelo Solymar Arenas Blancas Hotel. Like their American male compatriots Frishman and Drost, Dowdy and Pollock won a gold medal at the Australian Shepparton event and will compete this week in the Huntington Beach Open.

The women's podium at the NORCECA Circuit’s Varadero Open Sunday in Cuba.

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