Panthers take beach volleyball tournament titles

ST. CROIX — Teams from Good Hope Country Day School won the boys’ and girls’ championship titles in this weekend’s inaugural St. Croix Interscholastic Athletic Association Beach Volleyball Tournament, which s ended on Sunday.

Good Hope Country Day’s Makari Matthews and Jean Jacques Dongar capped an undefeated streak in the boys’ double-elimination category with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-9) win over Antilles School’s Lucas Rodriguez and Christian Belcher for the tournament title on Saturday.

A day later, Panthers teammates Kirra Lambert and Syrena Carter also capped an undefeated tournament streak on Sunday by defeating Educational Complex High School’s Briana James and Mia Monero in straight sets (21-18, 21-17) to the women’s title.

The two-day beach volleyball tournament, held on the courts of Deep End Bar & Grill in Christiansted, attracted public and private school teams from all three islands in the territory.

Matthews and Dongar advanced to the boys’ finals by first beating Rodriguez and Belcher earlier in the double-elimination tournament 2-0 (15-9, 15-4), then beating Panthers teammates Kenyon Jean Baptiste and Carter 2-0 (15-10, 15-10).

Rodriguez and Belcher had beaten Good Hope Country Day’s Josh Rodgers and Thomas Bugg 2-0 (15-5, 16-14) earlier. After their previous loss to Matthews and Dongar, they qualified for the final by first beating Hurricanes teammates Ruel Hazell and Gabriel Christian 2-0 (15-7, 16-14), then beating Jean Baptist and Carter in the 2-0 consolation final. (15-4, 15-9).

On the girls’ side, Lambert and Carter went 4-0 in tournament play to win the title. After earning a first-round bye, they advanced with a 2-1 (12-15, 15-5, 17-16) win over James and Monero.

Lambert and Carter went on to beat Good Hope Country Day teammates Aleah Mann and Frances Falcon 2-1 (15-10, 13-15, 15-10) in the winners’ group semi-final, then took a 2-0 (15-11, 15-9) victory over Ahlaya Challenger and Titoluwani Ehinmowo of the Free Will Baptist School.

James and Monero had advanced with a first-round win over West Indies School Eliana Walters and Lilyana Aubain 2-0 (16-14, 15-4). After their second-round loss to Lambert and Carter, James and Monero began their journey in the consi bracket.

The Barracudas duo beat Good Hope Country Day’s Candace Felix and Aaliyah Boodhoo 2-0 (16-14, 15-11) and Complex teammates Nyelis St. Omar and Mya Monero 2-0 (16-14, 17- 15), then won 2-1 over Mann and Falcon (10-15, 15-11, 15-13) and 2-0 (15-10, 15-10) over Challenger and Ehinmowo to set up a rematch with Lambert and Carter.

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