Canada won silver and bronze today at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Itapema Four-Star in Brazil.
Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ontario, and Melissa Humana-Paredes of Toronto went up against April Ross and Alix Klineman of the U.S., eventually losing the hard-fought gold-medal match (25-23, 18-21, 15-10) at Meia Praia Beach on Sunday.
Heather Bansley of Waterdown, Ontario, and Brandie Wilkerson of Toronto, who won the bronze at this event last year, returned to third spot after a three-set (21-19, 17-21, 22-20) thriller with the Netherlands’ Marleen van Iersel/Joy Stubbe in the bronze medal match.
“It feels great,” Bansley told FIVB.com. “It was a special tournament for us last year (their first medal as a pair), so it holds a special place in our hearts. It’s very nice to be able to repeat that, even if, of course, we wanted more. We’re happy that we came back this morning from a loss yesterday, and were able to win against a very good Dutch team, which played really well this week.”
It was the seventh medal won by the top-ranked Canadians (Wilkerson/Bansley) in just one year and the third of the 2018-2019 season. They won golds in Warsaw, Las Vegas and Chetumal, silver in Ostrava and bronzes in Itapema and Gstaad.
Yesterday, in a Canada vs. Canada showdown, Pavan/Humana-Paredes came out on top in the semi 2-1 (10-21, 21-16, 15-5).
Up-and-comers Megan and Nicole McNamara (Vancouver, BC) were ninth overall in Itapema; while the men’s team of Grant O’Gorman (Scarborough, ON) and Ben Saxton (Calgary, AB) were also ninth. Sam Pedlow (Barrie, ON) and Sam Schachter (Richmond Hill, ON) finished ranked 17th.
Norway’s Anders Mol/Christian Sørum, Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Michal Bryl and the Netherlands’ Christiaan Varenhorst/Steven van de Velde reached podium in the men’s event at Itapema.
In other Canadian beach volleyball news, Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg, MB) and Sophie Bukovec (Toronto) finished fourth after losing the bronze match 2-0 to a team from Switzerland at the Aydin two-star tournament in Turkey. Fellow Canadians Amanda Harnett (Burlington, ON) and Marie-Christine Lapointe (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC) finished ninth at the same tournament.
The top teams are working toward Olympic qualification this season.