Competition is heating up on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, with the season’s first Grand Slam event in Moscow, Russia. Men’s team Chaim Schalk of Red Deer, Alberta, and Ben Saxton of Calgary were the top finishing Canadian team.
“Taking a ninth in Moscow is a solid start to the first Grand Slam of the year,” said Schalk. “We were however not happy with our performance in our final match against Germany, and are hungry for big result in Croatia next week.”
The Canadian pair fell to Walkenhorst/Windscheif of Germany in Round 2 of playoffs 0-2 (13-21, 11-21), after going undefeated in pool play.
In the first round of playoffs, Canada’s Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter, both of Richmond Hill, ON, lost to third seeded Fijalek/Prudel of Poland 0-2 (19-21, 17-21). This Canadian team finishes 17th in the Moscow rankings.
On the women’s side, Canada had three teams in the main draw in Moscow, with Jamie Broder (Victoria, BC) and Kristina Valjas (Toronto, ON) as the top team in 17th. Heather Bansley (Waterdown, ON) and Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, ON); and Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto) and Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg) ended up in 25th spot together.
One of the highlights for the Canadian women in Moscow was Bansley and Pavan beating number-one seeded Larissa/Talita of Brazil in their pool play. The Canadian women have a combined three medals on the World Tour so far this year.
The first major event on the 2015 FIVB World Tour, the US$800,000 Moscow Grand Slam continues through Sunday when the medal matches for both men and women will be played. Following the first two rounds of men’s elimination play Friday, the quarter- and semi-final contests will be staged Saturday.
After this week’s event, the FIVB World Tour’s stops are set for Croatia (June 1-7) and Norway (June 8-14) before international circuit crosses the Atlantic for the final world championship “tune up” in the United States for the St. Petersburg Grand Slam in Florida (June 15-21).
Canadians are looking forward to the Pan Am beach event at Toronto 2015 – the schedule is now released.
Full results at www.fivb.com