Canada’s Bansley and Wilkerson reach podium in Brazil

Canada’s Heather Bansley (Waterdown, ON) and Brandie Wilkerson (Toronto, ON) picked up bronze today at the four-start FIVB Beach World Tour $300,000 Itapema Open in Brazil.

In the match for third, Bansley and Wilkerson, who have played in 13 World Tour tournaments since the end of 2016, reached their first podium together as they defeated Brazilians Carol Solberg and Maria Elisa Antonelli in three sets (21-18, 18-21, 15-11).

“I think it came down to our side out and just settling down with our pass and set,” Bansley, a 2016 Olympian, commented on “We were getting opportunities on our defense, so we just had to stay steady on our side out. I’m proud about how we played all week. It’s a special medal for our team and hopefully there’s more to come.”

It was also the first-ever World Tour medal for the Wilkerson, who has played in 27 FIVB events since entering the tour in 2014.  “This will definitely be a particularly special tournament for me,” the left-handed blocker said. “I’m so lucky to play with someone like Heather and I think we deserved it as a team because we have been working so hard. I’m so proud of this start for us. I love Brazil, I loved the venue and the event, so this will be one I will never forget.”

Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa of Brazil won gold in the women’s event today beating Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré in the final 2-0.

Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan finished ninth in Brazil, while on the men’s side Sam Pedlow and Sam Schachter were fifth and Grant O’Gorman and Ben Saxton finished ranked 17th.