Open battle for women’s beach title in Martinique

POINTE-DU-MARIN, Martinique, October 25, 2018 - With none of the previous winners during the first five legs of the 2018 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit in Pointe-Du-Marin on Friday, a record sixth straight winner is set to be declared at the end of the 11 team competition.

USA’s Mackenzie Ponnet and Kimberly Smith sounded a warning to all comers when they won the opening leg of the tour in Mexico, but a week later they had to settle for silver behind experienced Mexicans, Martha Revuelta and Zaira Orellana, who climbed from fourth spot the opening week. Not to be left out, Cuban duo, Leila Martinez and Maylen Diaz grabbed a share of the tour’s spotlight by winning gold on home soil in Varadero during the third leg stop.

 However, USA got a second win in four legs, courtesy the duo of Falyn Fonoimoana and Molly Turner in Punta Cana during the first weekend of October. And a week later, another American duo, Alix Klineman and April Ross also took top spot. But starting on Friday, none of those previous winners will be in contention, leaving the stage primed and ready for the emergence of a new champion, and the first ever on the sunkissed island of Martinique.

Heading the contenders is the top ranked team of T&T’s Abby Blackman and Rheeza Grant, who had the honor of representing their nation at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia.

However they are expected to tested heavily with Canadians, Sophie Bukovec and Alexandra Poletto, as well as Amanda Harnet and Marie Cristine La Pointe in the mix along with USA’s Victoria Dennis and Melissa Fuchs and Puerto Ricans, Allanis Navas Sachez, and Maria Gonzalez, fifth placed finishers at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina less than two weeks ago.

The 11 women’s team are divided into three groups, one of three teams and the other two with four teams each. At the end of the round-robin format, the top two teams in each three points will qualify to the quarterfinals, along with the two best third placed teams from the three pools.

On Thursday night, the teams already on the island were treated to a brief welcome reception hosted by the host federation in conjunction with key sposnors . BMW, French Sports Ministry, Haagen-Daz, track athlete Vaillant Ludvy, and Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Led by Tournament Director, Daymian Stewart, the technical Committee also completed its preliminary enquiries of the competing teams ahead of first serve on Friday morning.