Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson came out on top of the all-Canadian gold-medal match at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Las Vegas Open on Sunday, and won their first title in the 2018-2019 World Tour season.
Bansley (Waterdown, ON) and Wilkerson (Toronto, ON) battled to a three-set win (21-17, 17-21, 15-9) over Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto, ON) and Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, ON) in today’s final.
“We’re ecstatic; we’re obviously so happy – we put in a lot of work and we’re proud to come out on top with the gold medal,” said Wilkerson.
Both teams had an excellent tournament – winning all their matches on the road to today’s final.
The two teams are familiar opponents. After winning the first meeting between them in 2016, Bansley and Wilkerson lost the next four, three of them in straight sets. The series now stands at 4-3 in Pavan and Humana-Paredes’ favour after Bansley and Wilkerson beat them in the quarterfinals of the NORCECA Championships recently.
“We approached this (final) just like any other match…. I think we’re just really motivated to keep doing well with Olympic qualification starting,” said Bansley, a 2016 Olympian who has the 2020 Games in her sights. “We both work really hard and we think we can keep improving, and we set the bar pretty high for ourselves – we are so thrilled with this win, but there are still things that we can improve on. We’re looking forward to more hard work this season.”
Carolina Salgado and Maria Elisa Antonelli secured the bronze medal as their opponents, fellow Brazilians Rebecca Silva and Ana Patricia Ramos, had to retire from the game after Ana Patricia sustained a left ankle injury during the second set.
Canada’s Ben Saxton and Grant O’Gorman finished 17th in the men’s tournament. Anders Mol and Christian Sørum of Norway won the men’s gold.
Also in the women’s tournament, Canadians Kristina May and Taylor Pischke finished 25th.