La Paz Beach Tournament kicks
off NORCECA Circuit
LA PAZ, Mexico, April 5, 2017 – The NORCECA Beach
Volleyball season gets underway on Friday when the double-gender
tournament at La Paz in the state of Baja California Sur, Mexico
kicks off for second consecutive year.
Twelve male pairs and nine female duos have been
registered to play in the opening event of the 2017 NORCECA
The men’s field includes the all-time most
successful player in NORCECA Juan Virgen partnering with
Lombardo Ontiveros. Virgen has won 32 tournaments in the history
of the circuit while Ontiveros has 18, all but one with Virgen.
Other big names among the men’s teams are Cubans
Karell Peña and Daisel Quesada, winners in Punta Cana, Dominican
Republic the last two years, and the American team of Stafford
Slick and Reid Priddy, the latter starting a beach career after
many successful years with the USA volleyball team.
The women’s event also features relevant teams
with good history in NORCECA and at other international scenes.
Canadian Brandie Wilkerson, who won last year in
La Paz playing along Julie Gordon, will team up with Heather
Bansley. Both Canadians have won medals of different colors in
Three-time gold medalist Taylor Pischke of Canada
is entering the event with Kristina May, while the United States
will be represented by the powerful duos of Betsi Flint and
Kelly Larsen and Brittany Hochevar and four-time winner Emily
In the inaugural event last year, the Cuban duo
of Nivaldo Díaz and Sergio Gonzalez took home the gold medals
and top prize of US$3,000 in the men’s event, while Canadians
Julie Gordon and Brandie Wilkerson won the women´s competition
and the same first place purse.
Díaz/Gonzalez swept the USA team of William Allen
and Stafford Slick 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) while compatriots Kelly
Reeves and Allison Daley-McColloch succumbed to Gordon/Wilkerson
2-1 (19-21, 21-11, 15-10).
The American teams of brothers Trevor and Taylor
Crabb won the men’s bronze medals while Kimberly Dicello and
Kendra Vanzwieten finished third among the women.