Olympians Ben Saxton (Calgary, AB) and Chaim Schalk (Red Deer, AB) pleased the home crowd today at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals Friday afternoon at Polson Pier by posting a 2-1 (23-21, 15-21, 15-13) Pool D win in 54 minutes over Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg of Brazil.
“We didn’t let them get to us. We just kept playing next point and staying positive, and enjoying the amazing crowd,” said Schalk. “We need to just continue getting better with every game, we haven’t been playing as much lately because of the Olympics; so we just want to keep the momentum going.”
It was the second-straight win for the Canadians over Evandro and Pedro as Saxton and Schalk defeated the Brazilians in a pool match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“With the home crowd, it was the opposite feel, but same result (as the Olympics),” said Saxton. “This crowd here is amazing and we want to make them proud. We’ll try to get every point and every win that we can for them.”
Saxton and Schalk play the Netherlands at 1:30 Eastern on Saturday.
Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland won 2-0 (22-20, 21-16) over Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter, both of Richmond Hill, Ontario. Binstock, a two-time Olympian, and Schachter play again tomorrow against Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek, also of Poland, at noon in Toronto.
Heather Bansley (Waterdown, ON) and Brandie Wilkerson (Toronto) were eliminated despite an exciting match against the Olympic gold medalists Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany 2-1 (21-17, 18-21, 15-10). Bansley faced this team before with Sarah Pavan at the Olympics when they lost 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
“It was a different environment (than the Olympics) and the crowd gave us a lot of energy,” said Bansley. “There wasn’t the pressure of the Olympics and we’re a new team. So we were just trying to stay present in each play and battle out there, and I think we did a really good job of that.”
Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre eliminated Jamie Broder (Victoria, BC) and Kristina Valjas (Toronto, ON) earlier today 2-0 (24-22, 21-19).
Action continues Saturday and Sunday in this World Tour Finals, which is a free event for spectators.