May 30, 2013, Campinal, Brazil (ISN) – Former Trinity Western men’s volleyball setter Chaim Schalk (Red Deer, Alta.) and his partner Ben Saxton (Calgary) produced the first shocker of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Final as they upset the No.1 ranked team in the FIVB World Rankings, Americans Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson, 2-0 (21-15, 22-20) Thursday morning.
The win will go a long way to putting the duo of Schalk and Saxton on the international map as the newly formed pair of Gibb and Patterson have been amongst the best in the world all year. Earlier this year, Gibb and Patterson captured gold at the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam in China.
Gibb has also represented the United States at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Last year, he, along with his former partner, Sean Rosenthal, was named FIVB Team of the Year. They finished fifth at the London Olympics.
Schalk and Saxton are now 1-1 in pool play after dropping their opening match against Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik.
“Yesterday we had a couple of opportunities to take it from Germany, we let them off the hook, we took this away from them [US],” Schalk told the FIVB following Thursday’s match.
Saxton added: “It’s about time we won a close one, it’s nice to get a win against a good team.”
The 10-team tournament has two pools of five teams with, after round robin play, the top two teams in each pool advancing to the semifinals.
Schalk and Saxton qualified for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup by winning the Canadian trials in December. They defeated Christian Redmann and Matt Zbyszewski of Toronto 2-0 (24-22, 21-18).
Schalk and Saxton are back on the court Friday when they play both a team from South Africa and a team from Norway. The semifinals are Saturday with the final being played Sunday.
Schalk graduated from Trinity Western in 2009 after spending three years with the Spartans men’s volleyball team.
The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Final will hand out $150,000 in prize money per gender.
The 10 countries competing will include the winners of each of the Continental Cup Finals and the national federations who qualified a maximum two teams at the 2012 Olympic Games via the Olympic rankings. If the 10 vacancies were not filled with these criteria, the best country on the 2012 Olympic Games rankings not already qualified was given a berth.
The World Cup was originally scheduled for January 9-13 in Brazil but was changed to May 29 to June 2.