FIVB: Canadians Continue Strong Run in Land of Vikings

The FIVB World Tour continues on and the next stop is Stavanger, Norway for the second Major Series event of the year. 

Canada had six teams in the Main Draw, as Sam Pedlow (Barrie, On) and Grant O'Gorman (Scarborough, On) qualified by defeating Greece and Brazil to advance, joining Saxton/Schalk and Binsctock/Schachter as the third male pair. 

Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, On) and Heather Bansley (Waterdown, On) picked up where they left off winning their first two matches against Ukolova/Birlova of Russia and Forrer/Vergé-Dépré of Switzerland. Clinching their pool set them up against the Swiss pair of Zumkehr/Heidrich, which the Canadians took in straight sets, 21-18, 21-13. 

In the quarterfinals they ran into the wall of Agatha/Seixas from Brazil. The top-seeded pair from Brazil stopped Pavan/Bansley's run, handing them a 21-19, 21-15 loss, resulting in a 5th-place finish for the pair. 

Melissa Humaña-Paredes (Toronto, On) and Taylor Pischke (Winninpeg, Mb) cracked the Top Ten, improving on their 17th last weekend in Porec and 25th in Moscow, finishing 9th in Norway. They came out firing in pool play, taking down Menegatti/Orsi Toth of Italy and Maria Clara/Carol of Brazil on Day 1. They stumbled in their next match, falling to Artacho Del Solar/Laird of Australia and creating a three-way tie for first, leaving them in third. 

They pushed through Wang Fan/Xue of China 21-17, 21-18 in the first round, but came up against top-seed Agatha/Seixas of Brazil who handed the Canadians a 21-16, 21-19 loss to end their tournament. 

Jamie Broder (Victoria, BC) and Kristina Valjas (Toronto, On) had a tough road right from the get-go, with a record 1-1 on Day 1, losing to Zumkehr/Heidrich then besting the Nyströms from Finland in a three-set marathon. 

Dropping their final match of pool play to Agatha/Seixas, the pair drew Bawden/Clancy of Australia in the first round - the team they lost the Bronze medal to last weekend in Croatia. Unfortunate, fortune was not smiling down upon them this time either, and the Aussies took it in straight sets, leaving Broder/Valjas with a 17th-place finish. 

Saxton/Schalk Last Team Remaining

Ben Saxton (Calgary, Ab) and Chaim Schalk (Red Deer, Ab) are the final Canadian team remaining in the Stavanger Major. They opened the tournament going 2-0, getting the better of Turkey's Götepe/Giginoglu as well as Ryan Doherty and John Mayer of the U.S., both in straight sets. The final match of pool was one of the closest matches so far, with the Germans Erdmann/Matysik coming out the victors of a 26-24, 27-25 battle. 

Saxton/Schalk will now take on another team from Germany - Walkenhorst/Windscheif, in the First Round. 

That's the best it got from Canada on the men's side, as neither Binstock/Schachter nor Pedlow/O'Gorman managed to win a match. 

After qualifying for the Main Draw for the first time this season, Grant and Sam were in tough against Alison/Bruno of Brazil, Nicolai/Lupo from Italy and Walkenhorst/Windscheif of Germany. Taking all three matches to the limit, but unable to find that elusive "W". 

Josh Binstock (Richmond Hill, On) and Sam Schachter (Toronto, On) showed their fatigue from a long run in Croatia by coming out flat against Theo Brunner and Nick Lucena of the U.S. and Kantor/Losiak of Poland. Their final match against Eithun/Horrem of Norway on the Centre Court could have put them into the next round, but the home team prevailed 15-9 in the third.