Canadians Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter decisively beat Puerto Ricans Roberto Rodriguez and Erick Haddock to claim their first gold medal of the year in the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit with a 21-11, 21-12 victory on Sunday.
Binstock and Schachter, both of Richmond Hill, Ontario, relied on their strong and high blocking game to dominate Rodriguez and Haddock who were seeking their second title of the year. “We never get the opportunity to play at home, so we had an extra motivation today,” 2012 Olympian Binstock said. “We have not really been together for a full season, but we had a good off-season together and the chemistry is developing. Now we have to keep that rolling.’
It was the third medal of the season for the Canadian team, adding to their bronze and silver medals in Manzanillo and Huixquilucan, Mexico, respectively. The silver medal for the Puerto Ricans was their fifth podium placing of the year.
Rodriguez and Haddock advanced into the final match with an easy win 21-14, 21-17 over Nick Tramble and James Drost of United States-A. Binstock and Schachter won a three-set match 21-19, 19-21, 15-12 victory over fellow Canadians Sam Pedlow (Barrie, ON) and Grant O’Gorman (Scarborough, ON). Pedlow and O’Gorman won a gruelling battle of three sets over Tramble and Drost 19-21, 21-18, 15-11 to collect the bronze medal.
“We had a tough three-setter with Josh and Sam, and the U.S. kind of finished it quickly with Puerto Rico so we knew we were at a disadvantage energy-wise,” explained Pedlow. “It was just a matter of how in control emotionally you are. Physically you are what you are, so you just bring what you have that day. We knew it was going to be a grind, and thankfully we pulled it out.”
In the women’s event, Tealle Hunkus and Kimberly McGiven-Dicello of United States-A captured their third gold medal of the season in the NORCECA tour with a 2-0 (21-11, 26-24) over the home favourites Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto) and Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg) of Canada-A.
Playing under breezy conditions on Marathon Beach, the Americans looked strong despite a tough fight by Humana-Paredes and Pischke in the second set. “The crowd was really behind us, even in the first set when we were struggling, so I thank them for that,” said Humana-Paredes. “It took us way too long to adjust for the wind. We finally figured it out, but in the second set and it was a bit too late. We let some key points slip away. But it was a good, hard-fought set and I’m glad we finished on a better note, but unfortunately we didn’t come out with the win.”
Victoria Altomare of Toronto, ON and Julie Gordon of Barrie, ON, finished fourth in the women’s event.
The full Canadian line-up in North Bay was as follows: Melissa Humana-Paredes of Toronto and Taylor Pischke of Winnipeg (CAN1); Kacie MacTavish and Caleigh Whitaker, both of Sharon, ON (CAN2); Claudia Seguin of Saint-Pascal Baylon, ON, and Brandie Wilkerson of Toronto, ON.(CAN3); and Victoria Altomare of Toronto, ON and Julie Gordon of Barrie, ON (CAN4)
On the men’s side: Sam Pedlow of Barrie, ON, and Grant O’Gorman of Scarborough, ON (CAN1); Josh Binstock with Sam Schachter, both of Richmond Hill, ON (CAN2); and Cam Wheelan of Barrie, ON and Michael Plantinga of Langley, BC (CAN3); James Battiston of Mississauga, ON and Simon Fecteau-Boutin Levis, QC (CAN4).
“The event itself was just an awesome event - the quality was definitely up there. We need international events in Canada. It allows our athletes to play with the support they have from our training centre. We get to learn a lot from a situation like this that helps us prepare for events overseas,” explains Volleyball Canada beach head coach, Steve Anderson. “To be able to have everyone here and have all the teams supported allows for us to grow. So it’s a very important tournament for us.”
The 25-team tournament, which also served as a test event for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, was co-hosted by Volleyball Canada and the Vision Volleyball Club of North Bay. Fans crowded Marathon Beach on Lake Nipissing to witness the NORCECA(North America, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation) teams battle it out under mainly sunny skies all weekend.
Story from the Volleyball Canada Website | Volleyball.ca