By Ellen Zoe Golden
After all the earlier contests this season, the Tamarindo Beach Volleyball Women’s team found themselves in the Women’s Category A finals that took place last month at Marina Pez Vela in Quepos. With team regular Cristina Mitchell injured, it was up to alternate Paola Canet to join the other regular Rachael Kershow in the finals. These ladies played against Clinica Visualiza team comprised of Natalia Alfaro and Karen Cope who, in the end, took 1st place in the A division. Alfaro and Cope also won the Women’s Elite contest against team Sire Cure Tape featuring Marcela Araya and Valeria Valenciano.
The score for Tamarindo was 17-21 and 18-21 finding the ladies at a loss of 2-0 with Clinica Visualiza for the win.
“We were #1 going into the last tournament, so we had a bye, meaning we were automatically going to be in the final on Sunday, even if we played on Saturday and lost,” explained Mitchell. “The challenge was I could not play on Saturday and they would not allow us to have Rachael and Pao play Saturday, then follow that with me and Rachael on Sunday. So we chose to take the bye and just play Sunday with Paola in for me.”
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The 2017 National Beach Volleyball Championship was presented by FECOVOL, the Federacion Costarricense de Voleibol, and AVPCR, the Asociacion Voleibol Playa de Costa Rica, and was a culmination of seven tournaments, each taking two days with different groups in a pool, then the semifinals and finals. The first eight teams in the rankings went to the finals. The total of categories included Category A Men and Women’s and Elite Men and Women’s.
At the start, on Saturday, inclement weather threatened the contest. Rain forced the contest to resume on Sunday beginning at 6:30 a.m. and on that day all went well for the participants, sponsors and spectators in the field created in Quepos for the event.
“For me, watching the final was nerve-wracking, and frustrating because I was injured and on the sidelines, regardless if we won or not,” said Mitchell “Rachael and Paola are so talented and could have won, but some days you are just off and nerves get the best of you. Unfortunately, that led to too many mistakes and we gave it away. We were still close though. It was a great season. WE had a chance to work on and get better at so many things. Next year, we’ll be in the Elite for sure. We have already started organizing local Guanacaste tournaments for the off season.”
“After the Elite Women, Limobus’s Mateo Andreola and Esteban Escobar were able to win both Elite Men and the regular contests.
For Minor Valenciano, President of AVPR and a member of FECOVOL, the tournament met expectations: “The championship was filled with a high level of play by the competitors in all categories. However, it was clear that we should do these in the Pacific summer, and in the Atlantic area in September, October and part of November. This championship also leaves us with the certainty that the involvement of the sports committees with their athletes allow us to observe what are the new talents of beach volleyball.”