Canadians to play in four-star final

Top-seeded Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, ON) and Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto, ON) of Canada and second-seeded Alix Klineman and April Ross of USA will play each other in Friday’s women’s final of the 4-star Katara Beach Volleyball Cup in Doha, Qatar. The two teams successfully pushed through Thursday’s quarterfinals and semifinals.

In the first semi-final of the day, Alix and April dominated fellow Americans Emily Stockman and Kelley Kolinske to a 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) win and advance to the final. Earlier, Alix and April delivered a 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) win over another strong team, fifth-seeded Brazilians Ana Patricia and Rebecca, in the quarterfinals.

In the second semi-final, Pavan and Humana-Paredes fought through extended sets to celebrate a 2-0 (24-22, 26-24) victory over third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) of Brazil. A very hard-fought first set was pushed into overtime. The Canadians denied two opponent set points before taking a one-set lead. In set two, the lead went back and fourth and again it was Canada who held up better. They saved as many as five set points for Brazil before converting their first match point to victory.

“We had some up and down moments. We were down in both sets, but we persisted, we kept fighting and it paid off. I am really proud of how we fought through the whole day today,” Pavan said post-match to Volleyball World.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes had to go through another tough encounter in Thursday morning’s quarterfinals. They went to three sets against Russia’s Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina and came out of it with a 2-1 (22-20, 24-26, 15-9) win.

“We’re quite familiar with the team of Alix and April and it’s always a battle against them. We know each other really well, so it’s bound to be a good game. As always, as long as we focus on our side, it should be a good match and we should persevere,” said Humana-Paredes, who faced the same American team at the 2019 World Championship to win and qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Yesterday in Doha, the reigning World Champions eliminated fellow Canadians Brandie Wilkerson and Heather Bansley in the Round of 16 in three hard-fought sets: 18-21, 21-18, 15-9. Wilkerson and Bansley finish 9th in the standings. Canada’s men’s entry of Ben Saxton and Grant O’Gorman finished 25th.