Pavan-Bansley Split, Immediately Face Off

Pavan and Bansley has become Pavan vs Bansley.

If you watched any Canadian volleyball at the Rio Olympics, you probably noticed Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley. They were Canada’s single most successful squad, losing a tough game to Germany in the quarterfinals of the Women’s Beach event. Though they had aspirations for the podium, finishing in the top-8 is an incredible accomplishment, especially for a team that has only been playing together for three years.

But in somewhat of a surprise turn, the team of Pavan and Bansley have decided to split. The news came in a very understated fashion, as the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals announced their wildcard entries for Toronto, and Pavan and Bansley appeared with new partners. After the announcement through inference, Pavan took to Facebook to post a brief and professional statement thanking Heather for their years.

While the news may come as a surprise to casual sports fans that just became familiar with our beach athletes at the Olympics, Sarah mentioned in a recent interview that the decision to split came all the way back in April.

While fans of the team must be disappointed, they’ll be immediately rewarded with an incredible winner-take-all match for the right to qualify for the Finals.

The FIVB tour only allows a limited number of teams to qualify from each country each tournament, and the finals specifically require a certain amount of points amassed through winning tournaments through the season. While Pavan and Bansley have enough points to qualify, splitting means only ONE of them can claim those points. They BOTH want to play in the finals, and they BOTH have new partners, so there is only one way to decide: play for keeps.

Both new partners come from York University’s volleyball program, and both went to Rio as practice players for the Canadian teams. Sarah Pavan’s new partner, Melissa Humana-Parades, won five top-10 finishes on the FIVB Tour this year. Pavan and Humana-Parades have already made clear their intent to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Heather Bansley’s new teammate, Brandie Wilkerson, managed an impressive twelve top-10 finishes this season in beach events. The team of Bansley-Wilkerson has not made any plans past qualifying for the Finals in Toronto.

The match of Pavan-Humana-Parades vs. Bansley-Wilkerson goes down 5:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, September 13th. They’ll play a best-of-three set match with the winner going on. And the winner will hold it over the loser for all time.

That, of course, is just a precursor to the real tournament, which you can catch on TSN, or head down to Polson Pier in person to take advantage of FREE admission. The Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals go from September 13-18th.