Canadian volleyball had a stellar day at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Sunday.
First, Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, ON) and Heather Bansley (Waterdown, ON) won their beach volleyball contest 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) in 39 minutes over Jantine van der Vlist and Sophie van Gestel of The Netherlands.
“This is the first Olympic match for both of us. I think we did really well. The Dutch team is really strong, but we stayed consistent and steady. To beat them 2-0 is a really good start for us,” said Pavan.
Heather Bansley agreed and talked about playing on Copacabana Beach: “It’s such an iconic venue – the birthplace of beach volleyball. To experience the Olympic Games here, I can’t think of a better place for beach volleyball at the Olympics.”
The indoor men’s team – in Canada’s first match in this discipline in 24 years – upset the United States in straight sets 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-23) in a match of Pool A of the men’s volleyball tournament.
The biggest difference in the stats of the match between the NORCECA rivals was in the unforced errors with the U.S. giving away 28 points in faults compared to 16 by the Canada.
Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag reflected on the start of the Olympic tournament: “You work, work and work, and then at one point in Japan (at the World Qualifier) you see things starting to come together. The team has matured to qualify and then carry to World League (winning Group 2). And we just keep going and try to prepare for each team well. I didn’t think that the US played their best match tonight, we’ve seen them play pretty impressive matches (in the past).
Now we need to think of what’s coming – to take the teachings from this match because we have some tough ones still to come.”
Nicholas Hoag had 14 points, including two aces, to lead Canada and Saskatoon’s Gavin Schmitt followed with 13. Gordon Perrin (Creston, BC) finished had nine points in the victory.
The action was far from over for Canada on Sunday night. Back to beach, Jamie Broder (Victoria, BC) and Kristina Valjas (Toronto) rallied from a first set setback to Laura Giombini and Marta Menegatti of Italy to score a 2-1 (15-21, 21-18, 15-9) win in Pool D.
Finally, with a start just after midnight in Brazil, Chaim Schalk (Red Deer, AB) and Ben Saxton (Calgary) fell to Latvia (Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins) in an exciting match on the beach court by a score of 2-1 in their pool play.
Today, Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter play their second beach match at 21:00 local, or 20:00 Eastern time.
Please note: Local time is one hour ahead of Eastern time in Canada.
Check http://olympics.cbc.ca/ for broadcast times and schedules.