This is definitely not the scenario most envisioned when they thought of beach volleyball at the Pan Am Games, but Josh Binstock (Richmond Hill, On) and Sam Schachter (Richmond Hill, On) are out with a chance for a medal, losing 21-19, 26-24.
Maybe it was the heat, 37 degrees with the humidity, or the size of the stage, but the pair from Ontario seemed a slightly off. Against other teams, that difference might be unnoticeable, but today it was what brought an abrupt end to their tournament.
The Mexican pair did exactly what they always do - played steady, capitalized on mistakes and calmly sided out. Against a team like that, serving pressure and a strong block are both crucial, neither of which were on today for Binstock/Schachter. It’s too bad as well, because when this pair is on, Schachter’s serve strikes fear into any receivers heart and Binstock’s block has been featured in any opponents nightmares.
For whatever reason, those parts of their games were absent today and Canada’s hopes for a medal in men’s Beach Volleyball are gone.
To say it’s a disappointment is an understatement. The highest ranked team at the tournament, and the only team to have medalled on the FIVB Tour this season, on paper they should been medal favourites. Heap on the added advantage of playing at a home games in your hometown, Josh and Sam now know how Brazil’s soccer team felt after their exit from last years World Cup.
While the pair undoubtably gained some new fans, it’s unfortunate Canada never really got to see this team at their best. While the group stage matches were entertaining, we never saw the confident, passionate, and dominant team we've seen stand on the podium this year.
Hopefully this loss helps fuel them moving forward on the FIVB Tour and in Olympic qualifying. Because if there's any way to get the sour taste of a disappointing Pan Am Games finish, is redeeming yourself