The two pairs of United States as well as the main from Cuba and the only one from Mexico have advanced to the semifinals of the Varadero Beach Volleyball Tournament, the third phase of the NORCECA Circuit that concludes on Sunday at Barcelo Solymar Arenas Blancas Hotel.
Amanda Dowdy/Irene Pollock (USA-A) and Mackenzie Ponnet/Kimberly Smith (USA-B) will open the program followed by the match between top-seeded Leila Martinez/Maylen Delis (CUB-A) and Mexicans Zaira Orellana/Martha Revuelta, the champions of the previous stop in La Paz, Baja California Sur.
The Cubans twice defeated the Mexicans at Aguascalientes, the opening tournament of the circuit, first 2-0 in the preliminary phase and then in a come-from-behind tie-breaker before losing in three sets to Mackenzie and Kimberly in the match for the gold medal.
That same USA team finished second in La Paz after losing to Orellana and Revuelta in a tournament where Leyla and Maylen were absent, so it will be a day of revenges until the battle for the medals on Sunday.
Only the Mexicans from the four semifinalists are not undefeated as they lost their Pool D match to Ponnet/Smith in a clear clash of avenge while the other three are currently on a run of five victories in a row through pool play and quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinals, the only match that did not finish 2-0 was the one between the home teams of Leila and Maylen and Arlin Hechavarría and Yanisleidis Sánchez (CUB-B), the promising young couple who battled hard before succumbing 21-13, 22-24, 15-11 in a surprising contest that many did not expect.
Pool Play completion (Saturday):
Pool A: Leila/Maylen (CUB-A) d Joseph/Chase (TTO) 2-0 (21-9, 21-5); Alvarado/Juárez (GUA) d Brady/Hynds (HON) 2-1 (21-11, 20-22, 15-12); Leila/Maylen (CUB-A) d Alvarado/Juárez (GUA) 2-0 (21-12, 21-8); Dunn-Suen/Tresham (CAN-B) d Joseph/Chase (TTO) 2-0 (21-6, 21-8).
Pool B: Dowdy/Pollock (USA-A) d Arlin/Sánchez (CUB-B) 2-0 (21-15, 21-18); Dowdy/Pollock (USA-A) d Miller/Berroa (DOM) 2-0 (21-16, 21-18); Arlin/Sánchez (CUB-B) d Navas/González (PUR) 2-0 (21-13, 24-22).
Pool C: Lapointe/Sider (CAN-A) d Mendoza/Lolette (NCA) 2-0 (21-13, 21-9); Thalia/Amanda (CUB-C) d Gandolfi/Powery (CAY) 2-0 (22-20, 21-17).
Pool D: Orellana/Revuelta (MEX) d Charles/Bennett (ISV) 2-0 (21-4, 21-12); Ponnet/Smith (USA-B) d Orellana/Revuelta (MEX) 2-0 (21-11, 21-19); Wright/Wallen (JAM) d Charles/Bennett (ISV).
Losers Playoff: Joseph/Chase (TTO) d Charles/Bennett (ISV) 2-1 (21-14, 17-21, 15-13); Wright/Wallen (JAM) d Alvarado/Juarez (GUA) 2-0 (21-12, 22-20); Gandolfi/Powery (CAY) d Miller/Berroa (DOM) 2-0 (21-14, 21-17); Navas/Gonzalez (PUR) d Mendoza/Lolette (NCA)
Quarterfinals: Leila/Maylen (CUB-A) d Arlin/Sánchez (CUB-B) 2-1 (21-13, 22-24, 15-11); Ponnet/Smith (USA-B) d Thalia/Amanda (CUB-C) 2-0 (21-7, 21-12); Orellana/Revuelta (MEX) d Lapointe/Sider (CAN-A) 2-0 (21-14, 21-14), Dowdy/Pollock (USA-A) d Dunn-Suen/Tresham (CAN-B) 2-0 (21-6, 21-8).