TORONTO, Canada – It was the women’s indoor and beach teams that took the spotlight on Saturday at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.
Tabi Love of Dauphin, Manitoba, scored 22 points and Lucy Charuk contributed six blocks leading to a 3-1 (25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 25-22) preliminary match victory over Cuba in day two at the women’s indoor volleyball tournament at Toronto’s Exhibition Centre.
Love was one of three Canadians who reached double digits, with Charuk finishing second with 18 and Kyla Richey contributing 14 points in front of the appreciative home crowd.
Sulian Matienzo was the top scorer for Cuba with 14 points, followed by Alena Rojas and Daymara Lescay each with 10 points.
“It is a huge victory for us,” said Charuk, who is from Tsawwassen, BC. “We had played them a couple of times this summer and lost both times. We knew we had to go hard today and execute against them. Our next match is against Argentina and we also have played with them twice this year. We know them pretty well, so we have to come and play our game being aggressive.”
It was also a big day for beach, with the quarterfinals in both the men’s and women’s events. First up at the beach venue, Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter, both of Richmond Hill, Ont., battled Rodolfo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen of Mexico, but came up short 0-2 (19-21, 24-26). The Canadian men do not advance.
“The Olympics are the ultimate goal of why we play this,” said Binstock, a 2012 Olympian. “There aren’t any qualifications points here, there isn’t any prize money, but the things that we do get out of this help because it gives us the experience for the Olympics. You can’t mimic a multi-sport games and have a crowd like this, so what we got here is the ultimate experience.”
Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto, ON) and Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg, MB) made quick work of their Costa Rican opponents yesterday, winning the quarterfinal match 2-0 (21-12, 21-12). They play Cuba at 3 pm, local time, in the semi-finals.
The men’s indoor team plays again today: after beating Mexico on Friday, on Sunday the Canadians face Puerto Rico at 3:30 pm, Eastern time.