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SPG beach volleyball teams chosen

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THE Guam Volleyball Federation concluded their men's and women's South Pacific Games Beach Volleyball Qualifier tournament on Feb. 19 with David Rillera/Brian Matanane securing the top-spot for the men, while Jesse Pinkston/Kendra Byrd garnered first for the women.

According to GVF Vice President Jon Cramer, Rillera/Matanane played outstanding throughout the qualifiers and narrowly edged out the tandem of Chris Shepherd and Josh Cruz.

"There were some epic games between these two teams," he said, adding several younger teams also shined including Steven Finona and Shintaro Okada.

Even though they took first for the women in the tournament, Pinkston and Byrd declined the bid to represent Guam in the upcoming SPGs held in New Caledonia, said Cramer, adding the pair has plans to play on an indoor volleyball team.

"The second place team was Meagan Crisostomo and Kristi Hammond. Meagan and Kristi have yet to confirm if they will be able to attend as they are scheduled to begin college at the end of the summer. They are the epitome of what we are looking for in beach volleyball right now – young and willing to learn - but we need to be mindful of their educational choices as well."

The top two teams in both men’s and women’s were invited to participate in the sub-zonal Olympic Qualifier held on Saipan from March 4-6, according to Cramer. At that event, Rillera competed with Jimmy Boonprakong (subbing for Matanane) on the men’s side versus teams from CNMI, Paupa New Guinea and Australia.  

"Unfortunately, they did not win enough games to advance to the next round in Hong Kong. On the ladies side, only Meagan and Kristi went. They played well, but also were unable to advance. It was a great learning experience for all of the teams involved," said Cramer.

As of now, Cramer says the GVF can only confirm that Rillera and Matanane will represent the men at the Pacific Games.

"The focus for beach volleyball from here on needs to be on getting the masses involved. With that in mind, Pacific Islands Club will be hosting a four-person beach volleyball league starting April 30.
“Anyone interested in entering can contact me or Amanda Puleo at 646-4997 ext. 3107," said Cramer. "We need to get more people playing and two-person is often intimidating. Jiivana Spa will also host a one day four-person tournament on May 21. This will be the third year for the tournament and it is a fundraiser for the Relay for Life.
Cramer added the Federation will be focusing on the development of youth players and leagues for them in the near future.
"We are planning a 14 to 17-year-old league for the fall and several clinics and tournaments," he said.
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