A Baptism by Fire for Mexico's Rising Beach Volleyball Duo

Mexican beach volleyball rookies Sarabia and Cruz face veteran teams in Guadalajara, learning from defeats. Despite fiery competition, their bond and fan support fuel their determination to improve for the upcoming Elite 16 Tepic.

A Baptism by Fire for Mexico's Rising Beach Volleyball Duo
Two male beach volleyball players in action, spiking the ball. Fans in the background. Credit: CONADE

With good feelings and details that contribute to their understanding as a duo, beach volleyball players Miguel Sarabia Delgado and Gabriel Cruz Mendoza said goodbye to the Guadalajara Challenge, a tournament that is part of the International Volleyball Federation's (FIVB) World Tour and which is their third of the year together.

After the performance of their compatriots Abril Flores Castro and Atenas Gutierrez Guzman, the men took the court to face the Americans Jaim Schalk and Tri Bourne, who looked dominant and took the match in straight sets with scores of 14-21 and 14-21.

In the evening, the Aztecs took to the main court again to face Brazilians Pedro Solberg/Gustavo Carvalhaes, who were able to impose conditions from the first passages of the match. Sarabia and Cruz had outstanding moments boosted by the support of the audience present, but lost 0-2 (13-21 and 16-21).

“The important thing in this sport is to know that every match and opponent is different. The coach and coaching staff are prepared for it, and we have to follow the indications. We improved our reception and placement, factors that have cost us in the past, and now we are handling very well. Something of great value for me is that people come despite the weather, and we know that being in the sun is very difficult, but there are always people supporting us and that is the Mexican culture,” stated Sarabia.

“This year we have faced good couples from other countries that are fighting for their Olympic spot, today the experience of the Americans and Brazilians was noticeable because they played us with a lot of determination. People are very involved in the matches, even though the heat is tremendous. That's why we always give our all to get a good result for Mexico,” added Cruz.

Due to an injury of Olympian Juan Virgen Pulido, Sarabia has found in Cruz a great complement not only in the competition held at the Pan American Tennis Complex, but also in the Challenge of Recife and Saquarema, held last March in Brazil, so they are confident about what they can achieve in upcoming tournaments, such as the Elite 16 Tepic to be held next week.

“We have the conviction that this is a process, and we are happy to be part of it, we know the responsibility we have to be here and there are no excuses because it was not a great tournament. It is part of the sport to know what to do after a defeat and how to get up. Beach volleyball is to adapt to any environment and I think we are going to evolve very well,” Sarabia assured.

“I think it was a good participation for the short time we have been working together. We faced great rivals who have had good results in past tournaments; this will be very useful for the Elite 16 Tepic, where we hope to have better sensations, to be training and competing with these people who are the best in beach volleyball makes us learn more”, considered Cruz.