The FIVB World Tour is making its only North American stop before the Olympics this week in Cincinnati, Ohio. Canada is set to put on a strong showing with 10 teams in attendance.
Tuesday saw a perfect qualifier, with four more teams joining the six others in the main draw, giving the Canadian Beach Volleyball team five mens and five womens pairs.
Coming in with the No. 2 seed, Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley started strong, with an easy 21-11, 21-15 win over Germany, then a 22-20, 21-15 over Japan. They'll finish things off tomorrow against Hochevar/Fopma of the U.S.
Sitting at No. 11 in the Olympic rankings, Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas are looking for some big points in Cinci to secure a a spot in Rio. They took a step in the right direction today with a pair of wins, first a straight set affair with Spain, then in three against the feisty Dicello and Vanzwieten of America. They go for top of the group tomorrow against Slukova/Hermannova of the Czech Repulblic.
Both Julie Gordon and Brandie Wilkerson as well as Melissa Humaña-Paredes and Taylor Pischke had an up and down day in Pool G. Opening the day with a fierce showdown that Gordon/Wilkerson took 20-22, 21-18, 15-13, both teams finished 1-1. Mel and Taylor bounced back with a 2-0 win over Austria, while Julie and Brandie fell to Matauatu/Pata of Vanuatu. Both will need wins tomorrow to advance.
It was a steep learning curve for their first time on Tour, but Rachell Cockrell and Camille Saxton showed well despite failing to take a match. They take on the undefeated Swiss pair of Betschart/Hüberli tomorrow, looking for their first Tour win.
The men got the light day, with only one match scheduled per team. With the 3rd seed, Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk are eyeing the podium starting with a 2-0 win over Germany. They open play tomorrow morning against the American Crabb brothers then will finish things up against Australia.
Sam Pedlow and Grant O'Gorman are looking to continue the string of good results, and put themselves in the drivers seat with a 30-28, 21-9 over Latvia. Tomorrow will basically be a well run, non-corrupt NORCECA event for the pair, taking on Olson/Casebeer of the USA and the surging Mexican pair of Virgen/Ontiveros.
If you're going to lose, might as well be to your friends? We're not sure if that's true - but it was the case for Christian Redmann and Felipe Humaña-Paredes today, dropping their only match to Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter. They're in a pool with America's Ryan Doherty and John Mayer, who came home with the win over Japan today as well.
Finally, Cam Wheelan and Mike Plantinga were on the wrong end of a nail bitter today, falling 18-21, 21-19, 9-15 to Australia. Tomorrow brings the Grimalt brothers of Chile and Spain.