In today’s SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals men’s bronze medal match, Tri Bourne and John Hyden of the United States claimed the $20,000 third-place prize with a 2-0 (21-14, 22-20) win in 43 minutes over Ben Saxton (Calgary, AB) and Chaim Schalk (Red Deer, AB).
“We were a little bit slow after the quick turnaround from the semi-final match (against eventual winners from Brazil). We didn’t get the start we wanted,” explained Saxton. “Midway through the second set we started to figure it out but it was too little, too late. I wish it could’ve gone the other way.”
Saxton praised the supportive crowd: “The Toronto crowd was the best. It’s nice to be able to share this with the home crowd. We want to keep coming back here year after year.”
Fellow 2016 Olympian, Chaim Schalk, said: “It’s tough, obviously we wanted to be on the podium. They played their best game, and we were a little flat coming off a tough semi (against Brazil). We left it all out there so we can’t be too upset.”
This is their final match of a busy international season, which included a ninth-place finish at the Rio Olympics: “We’ll take some time to look back on our season… highlights of our season were a medal a Klagenfurt (another Major Series event) and making the semi-finals here.”
The venue and tournament earned raves reviews from the world’s top beach volleyball players.
“They’re great fans,” said Tri Bourne, after the match with Saxton and Schalk. “It’s a great place to play, they represented their boys really well and I think they helped them get back in it, but we had to fight through it and focus and we came up with those huge plays at the end – a big block and that huge dig (by Hyden).”
Olympic Rio 2016 gold medalists Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Alison Cerutti won the top men’s prize in Toronto after a tight, exciting match with fellow Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) in front of a packed stadium at Polson Pier.
Canada’s Josh Binstock, who announced this was his final tournament today, and Sam Schachter, were ninth.
On the women’s side, Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany, also Olympic gold medalists, won 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) in 41 minutes over Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich and Nadine Zumkehr in the women’s final. The Germans captured the $100,000 first-place prize for their biggest payday in four seasons together on the FIVB World Tour.
Canada’s two women’s entries – Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson, and Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas – were both ranked ninth at the Toronto Finals.
The SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals venue was located at Polson Pier. The winning beach volleyball teams shared the $100,000 first-place prizes.