Spikers miss the target in Cuba

The Cayman Islands failed to meet expectations for beach volleyball in Cuba.

Cayman’s male pairing of Philippe Deslandes and Olney “OT” Thompson placed 15th out of 20 teams in Varadero Beach at the fifth stop of the 2013 North Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation Beach Volleyball Circuit.

Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation public relations officer Carl Brown said the result is a minor hiccup.

“We were hopeful to make an impression similar to last year, when our girls nearly beat Cuba, which would have been a big upset,” Brown said. “But we continue to feel we can inch forward and leap forward like we did in Bermuda (at the 2013 Natwest Island Games). We learned a lot of lessons and we’re hoping to build on that.

“Athletes continue to be stretched with work commitments and personal developments. It is challenging as volleyball is not a focus sport and funding is a challenge. Our hope is the athletes can get enough technical cover to dedicate to training and nothing but volleyball for three years. Other countries do it and see spectacular results.”

Initially, four other players were slated to represent Cayman in ladies team Cristin Alexander and Jessica Wolfenden and male tandem Richard Campbell and Shervin Rankin. All were unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances.

Deslandes and Thompson lost both of their matches, to Grant O’Gorman and Samuel Pedlow of Canada (9-21,13-21) and to Williams Sanchez and Luis Castillo of the Dominican Republic (12-21, 16-21).

As a result, Cayman’s male players are now ranked 13th out of 20 teams on the NORCECA tour with 130 points. The men headed into Cuba ranked 12th. Cayman trail the U.S. Virgin Islands (150 points), Guatemala (160 points) and Nicaragua for a top-10 spot. Mexico, 920 points, are the overall leaders. The tour’s next stop is Mazatlan, Mexico in mid-September.

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