Volleyball Canada – Jackie Skender
July 11, 2015 – It was not the promised North American showdown, but Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley still come home from the Gstaad Major in Switzerland with bronze medal. April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings, three-time Olympic gold medalist, of the United States were forced to withdraw from the bronze-medal match due to injury.
To get to the finals, Pavan (Kitchener, ON) and Bansley (Waterdown, ON) won their pool, then beat fellow Canadians Jamie Broder (Victoria, BC) and Kristina Valjas (Toronto, ON) in the second round; followed by a victory in the quarter-finals over third-seeded Juliana/Antonelli of Brazil. They lost to Larissa/Talita, also of Brazil, and this number-one seeded team went on to win gold over yet another Brazilian team, Lima/Fernanda.
It is Pavan and Bansley’s third medal this season after placing second to Brazilian tandems in Prague (Agatha/Barbara gold medal winners) and Porec (Talita/Larissa). Prior to the 2015 FIVB season, a Canadian women’s team had never placed on the podium in a world tour event.
Valjas and Broder end up ninth; and the third Canadian team, Toronto’s Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke of Winnipeg, MB, finished the Gstaad event ranked 25th, after experiencing some minor injury issues.
Both Canadian men’s teams finished a respectable ninth at Gstaad. Representing the red and white was Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter, both of Richmond Hill, ON, and Chaim Schalk of Red Deer, AB, and Ben Saxton of Calgary.
Binstock and Schachter, and women’s team of Humana-Paredes and Pischke, are now on their way to Toronto for the 2015 Pan Am Games. Beach competition gets underway on Monday, July 13.