United States, Cuba, and Puerto Rico advance to men's semifinals

VARADERO, Cuba, May 4, 2024 - United States, Cuba, and Puerto Rico have advanced to the semifinals of the second phase of the 2024 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tour, which concludes this Sunday in this renowned tourist destination.

The American duos of Evan Cory/Robert Harrison (USA-1) and James Drost/Cody Caldwell (USA-2) will face off starting at 11:45 a.m., and at the same time, on the central court, the hosts Jorge Luis Alayo/Noslen Díaz will play against Puerto Rico’s Arnaldo Torres/William Rivera.

The local team is a strong contender to take the crown in Varadero considering their physical form after delivering a remarkable performance in several stops of the Beach Pro Tour, where they earned two silver medals in the Challenge level and one bronze in Elite16 in pursuit of points for their Olympic qualification through the FIVB ranking.

Alayo and Díaz, as well as Drost and Caldwell, led their respective elimination groups A and B undefeated with four wins each, while Cory and Harrison, as well as the Puerto Ricans, finished second in pools C and D, both with a 3-1 win-loss record.

In the quarterfinals, the Cubans secured their fifth consecutive victory by defeating Arran Chambers and Robert Kemp (CAN-1) in 36 minutes 2-0 (21-16, 21-14).

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s Torres and Rivera (second in group D with a 3-1 record) had to use all their resources to overcome Rouzbeh Rahnavard/Tynan Gannett (CAN-2), winners of group C with a 3-1 record, in a match that extended to a tie-break (21-19, 17-21, 15-13) in nearly an hour of play.

In the quarterfinal round, Cory and Harrison dominated Tyler Penberthy and Bryce Mayer (ISV-2) 2-0 (21-14, 23-21), who had finished first in group D (3-1).

Meanwhile, Drost and Caldwell defeated Garrett Bucklin and Robert Cronshaw (ISV-1), also with a sweep (21-18, 21-15).

In other results from Saturday's matches: Semifinals 9-12: Gómez-Veranes (CUB-2) def. D. Dyner/Varela (CRC) 2-0 (17-21, 18-21), Guardado C./Guardado Y (ESA) def. De Jesús/Martínez (DOM) 2-1 (16-21, 21-16, 17-15); Semifinals 13-16 Mora/Lopez (NCA) def. Hodge/Clerique (SKN) 2-0 (21-10, 21-8), and Izaguirre/Garcia (GUA) def. Williams/Whitfield (TTO) by forfeit.