They were looking for a challenge, so they left Cayman to test their skills against the world.

A pair of Cayman teams participated in last week’s Dig the Beach volleyball tournament in Pompano Beach, Florida, and they came away with confirmation that their game has improved.

Alicia Proud-Rabess and JoAnna Poyssick finished second in their division after Saturday’s play, and the other Cayman team of Stefania Gandolfi and Kalyn Klaess finished third.

The tournament was open to any entrants, and the results add points to their profiles on the Association of Volleyball Professionals circuit. The Cayman players were playing more for fun than international standing, and they hope to participate in other events.

“We were new in the system, because not many Cayman volleyball players are ranked,” Proud-Rabess said of the AVP tour rankings. “We went in there with no seed and no points under our name, and our division was quite small. There were six other teams and we had playoffs. The irony of it all was that we travelled that far and wound up playing our girlfriends from Cayman, which we didn’t expect.”

Gandolfi is a standout player who frequently represents Cayman in international beach volleyball tournaments, and Klaess played volleyball at the University of Rhode Island and later on the AVP circuit. Poyssick, meanwhile, was named ‘Queen of the Court’ in August during a Cayman volleyball tournament.

Stefania Gandolfi and Kalyn Klaess await a serve during the tourney.

Proud-Rabess said Tuesday that the group has enjoyed practising together over the last few months.

“We all trained together,” she said. “We’re a good group of friends and we just did this off our own backs purely because we love volleyball. We had a coach here in the summer named Pitter Rosa, and three out of the four of us got to train with him. We learned a lot and got great exposure.”

Both Cayman teams, said Proud-Rabess, beat the team that eventually became champion on Saturday, and they thrived in Florida despite it being quite different than the conditions they normally play in.

“It’s always the luck of the day and the luck of the game,” she said of competing internationally. “We’ll go into the next division the next time we play. We’re trying to get stronger each time we play.”

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