Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto, ON) and Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, ON) captured the Pool C title on Thursday afternoon at the US$800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals by defeating Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic in three sets.
“We’re forcing teams to change their games a little bit when they play us,” explained Pavan. “The Czechs are a great team and it’s always a battle against them. We’ve came out on top every time but we never take the game lightly because it can change like that.”
After defeating fellow Canadians Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson Wednesday, the third-seeded Humana-Paredes and Pavan scored a 2-1 (17-21, 21-13, 15-11) win in 45 minutes over the sixth-seeded Hermannova and Slukova. The win was Humana-Paredes and Pavan’s fourth win in as many FIVB World Tour matches with the Czech Republic with the last meeting being in the gold medal match early in July in Porec, Croatia.
To start play Thursday, the 11th-seeded Bansley and Wilkerson posted a 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) win in 33 minutes over Hermannova and Slukova.
Bansley said after today’s win: “I’m really happy that we were able to turn things around after yesterday’s loss. We had to refocus for today’s match. We cleaned up some of the things we struggled with yesterday and that helped us to win the match. But we can always be more consistent.”
All three teams in Pool C advance to Friday’s elimination round, but Humana-Paredes and Pavan have earned a “bye” into the quarter-finals for a guaranteed fifth-place finish in the event.
Bansley and Wilkerson play Larissa and Talita of Brazil on Friday.
Canada’s Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton, both of Alberta, begin the knockout round tomorrow on the men’s side.
Photo and reports: FIVB/Swatch Major Series