LONG BEACH, California - Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., and Heather Bansley of Toronto earned their best-ever result in their first-year partnership placing fifth at the sixth stop on the FIVB beach volleyball circuit which concluded on the weekend.
It was an all Brazilian final as No. 2-seeded Lima/Antunes gutted out their fourth consecutive three-set match in the tournament to slip past Brazil’s No. 4-seeded sisters Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado, 20-22, 21-15, 15-13 in 61 minutes.
Germany’s No. 7-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler held off a great effort by USA’s No. 15-seeded Emily Day/Summer Ross to earn the bronze medal in straight sets, 21-18, 25-23.
Pavan and Bansley opened the round robin with two losses but won their third match to advance to the elimination round. In the playoffs they scored two straight wins including an upset of 10th seed Kristyna Kolokova and Marketa Slukova to advance to the quarterfinals.
In the final eight they took the eventual champions to a third a decisive set falling 17-21, 21-15, 15-11 in 55 minutes.
There was more good news for Canada as its two other entries advanced to the first round of the playoffs for 17th place. They were Melissa Humana-Paredes of Toronto and Taylor Pischke of Winnipeg, bronze medallists at the U23 world championships, who were in their World Tour debut and Kristina Valjas of Toronto and Jamie Broder of Victoria who equalled their best result this season.
On the men’s side, first-year partners Ben Saxton of Calgary and Chaim Schalk of Red Deer, Alta., continued their fine international showing going 2-1 in the round robin and reaching the round of 16 for ninth place.
They were fifth at the world championships earlier this month and have now cracked the top-10 at four of their last six international tournaments.
Maverick Hatch of Comox, B.C., and Christian Redmann of Toronto had their best tournament of the year reaching the first round of the playoffs for 17th place.
In the final, USA’s fourth-seeded Sean Rosenthal/Philip Dalhausser defeated Spain’s 14th-seeded Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira 21-15, 21-18. It was the Americans who eliminated Saxton and Schalk.
In the third place match Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo overcame host nation favorites top-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, 21-16, 21-13
The next stop is August 6-11 in Berlin.
Full results at www.fivb.org