It was a golden sweep for Canada at the NORCECA Championships this weekend in Courland, Tobago. Taylor PIschke and Melissa Humana-Paredes took home top spot for the women while Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton stood atop the podium for the men.
Chaim and Ben finished undefeated in Pool A after defeating hosts Trinidad &Tobago as well as Barbados. Next up was USA-B of Trevor Crabb and William Allen in the quarters.
The pair outlasted Canadians Sam Schacter and Josh Binstock 18-21, 21-14, 15-12 to get to the quarters, and were looking to upset a second Canadian team in a row. They came close, but Saxton/Schalk inevitably shut the door, 21-17, 19-21, 15-13.
Sunday was the time for the semi-finals with Sergio Gonzalez and Nivaldo Diaz, a tough team from Cuba, in the way. The Cubans picked up three titles this year, and were looking for another. They clung to a first set 22-24 win, but Chaim and Ben rallied to take the next two 21-19, 15-12.
In the finals they found themselves up against some very friendly faces: Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson, their training partners in the off-season. This time, the Maple Leaf came out on top, as they took it in straight sets, 21-13, 21-17 to claim the gold and the NORCECA Championship.
Mel and Taylor finished pool play with a record of 3-1, losing only to fellow Canadians Heather Bansley and Kristina Valjas who paired up for the event. The quarterfinals were a double-feature of Canada vs. USA (explain that one NORCECA) with Bansley/Valjas taking on Lane Carico and Kimberly McGiven-DiCello in one match and Pischke/Humana-Paredes taking on Emily Day and Heather Hughes.
It was a split affair as Mel and Taylor bested Day/Hughes 21-15, 21-18 while Heather and Kristina fell to Carico/McGiven-DiCello 21-13, 20-22, 9-15.
The semi-finals had Mexican Queens Candelas/Revuelta in store, but the young Canucks were again up to the task. They took the match in straight sets, 21-18, 26-24 to set up a date with Cubans Lianma Flores and Leila Martinez.
The finals were a back-and-forth outing with Pischke/Humana-Paredes taking the opener 21-17 and the Cubans bouncing back to take the second 21-19. Mel and Taylor took no chances and finished it off with a 15-7 win the third.
While this marks the end of the 2014 NORCECA Beach season, their is still one event to go - the Durban Open in South Africa the first week of December. Don't forget to check out Volleyball Source when the time comes for all your tournament information.