A Canadian women’s beach team again reached the podium, this time with a silver by Heather Bansley of Waterdown, ON, and Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, ON.
Second-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil posted a 2-0 (21-12, 21-18) win in 37 minutes over seventh-seeded Bansley and Pavan to claim the gold medal and the $11,000 top prize. The Canadians shared $8,000 for second place.
Last season, the Brazilians last match of the tour was against Bansley and Pavan with the Canadians scoring a 2-0 (22-20, 22-20) victory in a 41-minute pool play match in Sao Paulo.
Bansley and Pavan advanced to their first-ever FIVB World Tour gold medal match with a 2-0 (21-12, 21-15) win in 35-minute over 24th-seeded Eduarda Lisboa and Elize Maia, also of Brazil.
“We definitely weren’t satisfied with our finish in China (at the Fuzhou Open, ending up fifth), and we didn’t want to feel that way again, so we really committed to getting into the semis this time,” Pavan said earlier today.
The Prague Open was the 280th event on the FIVB World Tour since the start of the circuit in 1992, and Brazil has now advanced a team to a gold medal match 247 times. And while Canada has one FIVB World Tour gold medal in total, the Brazilians have topped the podium 138 times.
The Prague Open was the third women’s FIVB World Tour qualifying event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Canadians Jamie Broder (Victoria, BC) and Kristina Valjas (Toronto, ON), who placed 17th this week after winning gold (Fuzhou, China) and bronze (Lucerne, Switzerland) medals in the first two events this season, lead the provisional Rio rankings with 1,080 points. Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany (990 points) and Bansley/Pavan (750) are second and third on the Rio list.
Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto) and Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg) finished ninth in the women’s only tournament in Prague.
“Congratulations and great job to Heather and Sarah winning a silver medal in Prague. All of our teams, male and female, have been working hard in the off and pre-season to get ready for the Pan Am and Olympic qualification period and now that the World Tour tournaments have started we are starting to see the benefits from all of the hard work and changes we have created over the last two years,” said Volleyball Canada’s beach head coach Steve Anderson. “All the best to all of our teams and let the ‘Race for Gold’ begin!”
Story from the Volleyball Canada Website | Volleyball.ca