Canada’s Brandie Wilkerson (Toronto) and Heather Bansley (Waterdown, ON) defeated 10th-seeded Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany 2-0 (21-17, 2-17) for the gold medal at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Warsaw Open Four Star event today.
In May, Wilkerson and Bansley picked up a bronze at Itapema (Brazil) and then in June a silver at Ostrava (Czech Republic).
Yesterday, the fourth-seeded Bansley and Wilkerson had a 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-8) quarterfinal victory over Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova, turning the tables after the gold-medal match loss last week to the same Czech pair. In the semifinals, the Canadians were efficient in a 33-minute 2-0 (21-17, 21-12) win over the USA’s Brittany Hochevar and Kelly Claes.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Brandie Wilkerson, who also celebrated her birthday today, “we’re so happy that our hard work on and off the court has really shown. We were really just fighting out there, keeping our heads down and with the eye on the prize at the same time.”
Bansley, who finished fifth at the 2016 Olympics with former partner Sarah Pavan, said to www.fivb.com after the win: “Today we just had to focus on each single point at a time and not get too caught up in the outcome of the match. That was the head space we were in for the whole tournament. “
The bronze medal went to Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa, over Hochevar and Claes of the U.S.
To the delight of the home crowd, top-seeded Polish pair Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak beat third-seeded Brazilians Vitor Goncalves Felipe and Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior for the men’s gold.
Also on the men’s side, Canada’s Ben Saxton and Grant O’Gorman finished fifth in Warsaw after a 2-0 loss to Latvia.
Fellow Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan were ninth, and Jamie Broder and Taylor Pischke 25th in the women’s tournament.
Teams now head to Portugal for the next four-star event, Espinho.