Cayman’s Jess Wolfenden & Stefania Gandolfi along with Casey Santamaria & Jesse Parham for day one wins at NORCECA Cayman Volleyball Tour stop held Friday (26 April) at Public Beach.
Seeded seventeenth in Pool A, the women’s duo first drew ninth ranked Canada, losing 2-0 (21-19,21-14) followed by a loss to top seeded United States 2-0 (21-8, 21-12). In the final game of the day, Wolfenden & Gandolfi would score a win versus sixteenth ranked US Virgin Islands 2-0 (21-9, 21-15). They’ll play eighth ranked Trinidad & Tobago for a spot at 9:30 a.m in the p.m quarterfinals Saturday. Wolfenden, a Cayman International School teacher, was greeted by a group of youngesters in the crowd. The volleyball national made her return to beach volleyball at last week’s tour stop in Mexico after a two-plus year hiatus.
“We started off a little slow in the first game and we did a good job coming back and tying up against Canada,” said Wolfenden. “My class showed up, so that made me excited go out there. Being back at home in the heat is hard. In Mexico, we played in shade. We need to get used to the heat, and take care of ourselves so we can continue through the weekend. It was nice to see support for us here because that keeps us going when we are tired.”
Ranked fourth, Cayman’s second women’s team of Marissa Harrison and Ileann Powery drew Pool D, losing 2-0 to both fourteenth ranked USA (21-9, 21-14) and twelfth ranked Nicaragua (21-13, 21-17). They’ll play fifth ranked Canada at 11:00 a.m for a quarterfinal birth.
“I just think a lot of it boiled down to serve-receive,” said Powery. “On my side for sure, I know I could have done a lot better. Marrissa as well. It’s a competitive team we tried our hardest and that’s all we can do. We need a lot more communication, play harder, be more aggressive and listen to each other. We need to get our pass going.”
On the men’s side, Richard Campbell and Nathan Dack went winless in Pool A losing 2-0 to eighth ranked Trinidad & Tobago (21-12, 21-9), seventeenth ranked Jamaica (21-10, 22-20) and first ranked Mexico (21-9, 21-11). They’ll play ninth ranked Canada for a birth in the quarterfinals at 11:45 a.m.
“We have a pretty tough pool so we are trying to do the best we can at the moment,” said Dack. “The second set versus Jamaica was pretty productive, so we know we can play at a decent level out here. We just have to get that consistency and work on our strategy, because our strategy is what really helped us out in the second set.”
Ranked fourth in Pool D, the team of Casey Santamaria and Jesse Parham took a forfeit win over Costa Rica who withdrew. They followed with a tight 21-16, 21-14 loss to 13th ranked Dominican Republic. They play fifth ranked Guatemala at 12:30 p.m for a quarterfinal birth.