FIVB: Canadians Harvest FIVB Beach Awards

FIVB: Canadians Harvest FIVB Beach Awards

Summer is fading as we move on to fall, and the 2018 beach season is over - and it's awards time. A trio of Canadians - Melissa Humaña-Paredes, Brandie Wilkerson, and Heather Bansley have all been recognized by the FIVB as being at the top of their class.

Heather Bansley - Best Defensive Player

Heather_Dig.jpeg

For the third time in four years, Heather Bansley is the Best Defensive Player in the FIVB. This doesn't come to a surprise to anyone as Bansley has made a living and scrambling around in the back row since her days as a Varsity Blue - but this year it was on full-force as it propelled her to a career-best No. 4 Rank in the FIVB World Rankings. 

At this point - Bansley is cementing herself as the best Canadian Defender of All-Time - of either gender. As the only one to ever win the award - let alone three - she's basically in a class of her own at this point. When you consider she's won the award with two different partners - you really 

 lol good luck

 

 

Brandie Wilkerson - Best Blocker

It was honestly just matter of time until Brandie Wilkerson won this award as there's little doubt she has the biggest block on tour - pretty much as certain as hearing the "My Block" song while she's playing centre court. In only her second full-season on the World Tour - Wilkerson is now one of the most feared blockers on tour - and she'll let you know when she gets you. 

We may be biased, but Brandie could have also won the Most Improved Player of the Year Award (No offence to to Australia's Mariafe Artacho del Solar). Her dominance at the net makes even the best hitters pull out the roll shot - only to have it swatted back. 

Melissa Humaña-Paredes - Best Setter

Rookie of the Year, Most Improved, and now Best Setter - Melissa Humaña-Paredes is just collecting them all. Her third award is her first skill-based nod - and there's little doubt Melissa is one of the silkiest setters in the world. In system or in transition, on the net net or off, her dynamic setting opens up the offence.

The most impressive part of her game however

Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humaña-Paredes | VOTE for Performance of the Year!

Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humaña-Paredes | VOTE for Performance of the Year!

Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humaña-Paredes of are up for Performance of the Year at the 2018 Canadian Sport Awards!

The pair had a historic season - not only capturing first-ever Gold Medal in Beach Volleyball at the Commonwealth Games, but also by being the first Canadian team to be ranked #1 in the World and also capturing the Gstaad 5-Star in Switzerland!

Sarah and Melissa made history, fighting off set point 20-19 in the final set against the home favourite Australians, to win the inaugural beach volleyball event at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. In reaching the final, the Canadian women did not drop a set and gave up just 77 points in five matches.

FIVB: World Tour Finals

FIVB: World Tour Finals

One last tournament remains in the 2018 FIVB World Tour season - and it's all coming to a close in Hamburg, Germany at World Tour Finals. The Top 12 Men's and Women's teams compete for this year's largest prize: $150,000 and the crown of World Tour Champs. 

To no one's surprise - both teams of Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humana-Paredes (World No. 4) and Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson (World No. 5) have qualified for the finals. 

Despite having attended all three editions of The Finals - no Canadian team has ever reached the podium, having finished fourth in all three years. Sarah & Heather finished just off the podium in Ft. Lauderdale in 2015, Ben Saxton & Chaim Schalk got close at home in Toronto in 2016, and Mel & Sarah came home empty handed last year in Gstaad.

Women's Pools - Click to Enlarge

Men's Pools - Click to Enlarge

Schedule

Wednesday August 15th

🇦🇺Artacho Del Solar/Clancy def. 🇨🇦Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humana-Paredes - 21-16, 21-19

🇨🇦Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson def. 🇳🇱Meppelink/Keizer - 21-16, 21-19

Thursday August 16th

🇨🇦Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson def. 🇧🇷Carol/Maria Antonelli - 21-17, 21-16

🇧🇷Agatha/Duda def. 🇨🇦Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humana-Paredes vs.  - 21-19, 21-15

Friday August 17th

🇨🇦Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson def. 🇺🇸Hughes/Ross - 22-20, 21-14, 15-10

🇨🇦Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humana-Paredes def. 🇨🇿Hermannova/Slukova - 21-17, 21-19

🇨🇦Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson vs. 🇩🇪Laboureur/Sude - 12:00 p.m. ET | COURT 1

🇨🇦Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humana-Paredes vs. 🇩🇪Bieneck/Schneider - 1:00 p.m. ET | COURT 1

 

All matches can be viewed live & on-demand on the Beachstream for € 4.99 incl. taxes. Watch it online or download the BeachMajors App to watch it on your phone or tablet!

Player Profiles

Heather Bansley

Brandie Wilkerson

Melissa Humana-Paredes

Sarah Pavan

FIVB: Moscow 4-Star

FIVB: Moscow 4-Star

The 2018 FIVB World Tour season is coming to a close, and the world's best move on to Moscow for the final event before the World Tour Finals in Hamburg. 

Two Canadian teams will be competing trying to bounce back from season-worst results across the board in Vienna where not one team made it into the Top Ten - a first for the 2018 season. Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humana-Paredes are looking to bounce back from a season-worst 17th to get geared up for next week's Hamburg World Tour Finals - while Ben Saxton & Grant O'Gorman are looking to finish off their first season together on a high note. 

Thursday August 8th

🇨🇦Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humana-Paredes def. 🇷🇺Syrtseva/Moiseeva - 21-16, 21-10

🇷🇺Krasilnikov/Liamin def. 🇨🇦Ben Saxton & Grant O'Gorman  - 21-18, 21-14

🇨🇦Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humana-Paredes def. 🇫🇮Lahti/Parkkinen - 21-19, 21-14

Friday August 9th

🇨🇦Ben Saxton & Grant O'Gorman vs. 🇱🇹Rumsevicius/Kazdailis - TBD

FIVB: Canadian Women Fizzle in Vienna

FIVB: Canadian Women Fizzle in Vienna

Ouch - that one hurt!

It was a rough day for the Canadian women at the Vienna 5-Star as they go a collective 1-5 in the Main Draw. Here's what happened in Vienna.

Pool A

Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humaña-Paredes are the only women's team left standing after going 1-1 in Pool A today. They opened the first match of the tournament against hometown wildcard Nadine Strauss and Franziska Friedl (No. 97) in straight sets. Next up was the newly crowned European Champs Madelein Meppelink and Sanne Keizer - and the Dutchies were out to prove their crown was no fluke as they brought down the No. 1 team in the world in straight sets.

Sarah & Mel will be taking on Makroguzova/Kholomina of Russia - the young team that eliminated Heather and Brandie, in the Main Draw.

🇨🇦 Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humaña-Paredes def. 🇦🇹 Strauss/Freidl- 21-17, 21-11

🇳🇱 Keizer/Meppelink def. 🇨🇦 Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humaña-Paredes - 24-22, 21-14

Next Game:  🇨🇦 Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humaña-Paredes vs. 🇷🇺 Makroguzova/Kholomina - 7:30 a.m. ET / 4:30 a.m. PT | COURT 4

Pool B

Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson have hands down been of the hottest teams on tour this summer - rocketing up the World Rankings to a No. 2 ranking. After six-straight top-five finishes and a Bronze in Gstaad - they're heading home after dropiing four-straight sets to Italy's Marta Menegatti & Victoria Orsi Toth (No. 184) and the 21-year olds from Russia, Svetlana Kholomina and Nadezda Makroguzova. They finish 25th - their first time outside of the top ten since their 25th in Xiamen in April.

Note: Italy's Victoria Orsi Toth is in her second game back after a two-year ban for testing positive for banned substances before the 2016 Rio Olympics.  

🇮🇹 Menegatti/Orsi Toth def. 🇨🇦 Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson - 21-16, 21-18

🇷🇺 Makroguzova/Kholomina def. 🇨🇦 Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson - 21-19, 21-18

Pool F

It was a pool of death for Jamie Broder & Taylor Pischke with some of the worlds alongside them in Pool F. After a gritty win over Sinnema/Bloem of the Netherlands in Qualification - they opened the Main Draw pushing the USA's April Ross and Alix Klineman (No. 28) to a third set and then falling in two-straight to Germany's Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider (No. 7). They finish 25th. 

🇺🇸 Ross/Klineman def. 🇨🇦 Jamie Broder & Taylor Pischke - 19-21, 21-12, 15-8

🇩🇪 Bieneck/Schneider def. 🇨🇦 Jamie Broder & Taylor Pischke - 21-17, 21-14

Men Get Started on Thursday

The men's Main Draw gets started on Thursday as we saw a rare two-day qualification round. Ben Saxton and Grant O'Gorman grinded throught to qualify - taking down teams from Austria and Argentina. 

Round 1: 🇨🇦 Ben Saxton & Grant O’Gorman def. 🇦🇹 Schnetzer/Müllner - 21-17, 21-18

Round 2: 🇨🇦 Ben Saxton & Grant O’Gorman def. 🇦🇷 Capogrosso/Azaad - 21-14, 18-21, 15-9

They join Sam Schachter and Sam Pedlow in the Main Draw - Ben and Grant kick things off against Poland's Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak the current World No. 1. Sam & Sam will have a battle of their own - facing off with hometown favourites (and their training partners from last week) Clemens Doppler and Alex Horst. Things are going to get hot real quick for the men!

🇨🇦 Ben Saxton & Grant O’Gorman vs. 🇵🇱 Kantor/Losiak - 5:30 a.m. ET / 2:30 a.m. PT | COURT 3

🇨🇦 Sam Schachter & Sam Pedlow vs. 🇦🇹 Doppler/Horst - 5:30 a.m. ET / 2:30 a.m. PT | COURT 1

FIVB: Tokyo 3-Star

FIVB: Tokyo 3-Star

Men

🇨🇦 Ben Saxton & Grant O’Gorman - Main Draw - Rank #1

🇨🇦 Cam Wheelan & Jake Macneil - Qualification - Rank #7

🇨🇦 Liam Kopp & Will Hoey - Qualification - Rank #10

Women

🇨🇦 Julie Gordon & Sophie Bukovec - Main Draw - Rank #20

🇨🇦 Charlotte Sider & Marie-Christine Lapointe -  Qualification - Rank #3

🇨🇦 Megan McNamara & Nicole McNamara - Qualification - Rank #5

BEACH: Redmann Retires from International Competition

BEACH: Redmann Retires from International Competition

After 15 years of international competition Christian Redmann has decided to retire internationally from beach volleyball. I add in internationally because we will see him at the OVA Grand Slam June 24-25 in Toronto. We will hopefully see him at other Canadian events such as the Vancouver Open, Centre of Gravity or a Cliver in the near future. Christian’s FIVB career includes over 90 events played, a 9th place finish at the 2009 World Championships, Norceca Championships, and 2 Volleyball Canada National Championships.

Christian’s international career started in 2002 when he partnered with Chris Simek. The pair traveled to Italy for World Championships, finishing 5th. Simek and Redmann began playing in Chris’s back yard where they would battle for hours playing variations of short court. It’s really impressive that two athletes from Oro Station, Ontario started competing in the backyard and would go on to represent Canada at the highest level.

 

“I would say that Christian is an extremely inspiring individual. I will never forget our juvenile boys tryout for Georgian Cubs where the coach cut Christian from the team for not being tall enough or athletic enough. He has always been underestimated and overlooked. I feel that those experiences drove him to become the exceptional athlete he is. From the time I was fortunate enough to become friends with Christian he has been extremely determined to be the best volleyball player he could. His drive and determination has proven to me that anything is possible if you want it enough. He accomplished some amazing things because he refused to give up and always worked harder than those that were told had more potential. I am extremely proud to have seen him succeed at the highest level and accomplish his dreams of competing and achieving success at the highest level. I wish him the best in his future with Dominique and couldn't be prouder to see a close friend become an ultimate pro in a sport he has dedicated his life to.”
– Chris Simek

 

“I feel very fortunate and privileged that I've had the opportunity to play for as long as I have and to have so many incredible experiences and lessons. There are some people that I really need to thank for all the time and e for they have put in over the years.

First my wife for always supporting me and believing in me and for taking care of so many things alone while I was away for training and traveling for tournaments not to mention being my team Dr. 

Myparents and my brother who always allowed me to follow my dream and taught me so many lessons growing up that helped me be able to do what I loved to do.

Thomas Lam and the whole team at FITS. Thomas is really amazing at what he does, he is definitely the best, and always he working hard in the gym to make up for what I lacked in size.

Hernan Humana for all the coaching and wisdom he passed on over the last couple years.

Manny Frantzis for always making time to treat me and lots of nutrition and health advice. There is a reason they call him a magician.

Ryan Scott or also always making time for me and making sure my shoulder wasn't going to fall off. I'm not sure how he did it but I couldn'tbelieve the reliefI had when I left his place.  

JP Pawliw Fry for helping me on the mental game in sports and in life.

Chris Simek who I grew up and always looked up to as a player, still to this one of the best players I have ever seen. He always game ready to win and never took days off when he was on the court. Probably the most competitive guy I've ever seen play. I think in all the years we played 1 on 1 games in his backyard beach court I never beat him once.

All my previous partners Jessi Lelliott for looking after me like a big brother would. Josh Binstock it's like he's playing chess and poker on sand, he was the best I've seen at being able figure out what hitters wanted to do in any and every situation. He was so much fun to travel with and hang out with. Always cracking jokes and laughing together.  Rich Vanhuizen for helping me become a professional and taking a chance on me. We never recycled jokes because we were so original. Rich was one of the most fun people to be around and travel with. Playing with him was just a joy and never stressful. Ben Saxton has a tremendous work ethic. He's a player that knows what he wants and goes out and gets it. He is extremely focused on reaching his goals. Matty Z probably the biggest gamer around. Unbelievable how he was able to step up when it was game time and perform on command in tight situations.  Maverick Hatch biggest whip of an arm. He has all the skills of a 6 foot ball control player but he is 6'7 with long arms. It's super rare to see s guy of his size with that skill set.  Felipe Humana Paredes so athletic and so skilled it was a pleasure to play my last few years with him.

My sponsors RBC, Lululemon, Oakley, they have all been amazing to me and treated me like family over the years. I would especially like to thank Fred Koops and Overkill for all the help they have given me over the years. Overkill has always been a great homegrown Canadian brand and been a staple in the Canadian Volleyball scene. Freddy's commitment and support of not only myself but many amazing players over the years has been a huge boost to the Canadian beach volleyball scene. He is also a great landlord! haha

Thien Dang Tan at Omega for always making time to see me and treat me.

The last person I want to thank has had a huge impact on my life, I would argue almost as much as my parents have. John Child has taught me countless things not only in volleyball but in life, he has been a coach, a mentor, a friend and a brother to me. I certainly wouldn't have the life I have today if it wasn't for him so for that I owe him a lot. 

I got to do what I loved to do for a very long time and was super fortunate to be able to do it as a job, I feel extremely lucky. I missed one big goal of mine that was the Olympics, and a lot of the people I mentioned above put in a lot of time and effort into my career so I feel like I came up a little short and wish I could have achieved that for them.  Especially after being so close. I hope in time that will heal. I always had a great team around me (the people I mentioned above) and always felt supported especially when the politics of sports can be tough. I learned a lot through my career and am so thankful for the life it has provided for me and the people that I met over the years that have become my close friends and family.”

- Christian Redmann

 

NCAA: Sophie Bukovec

NCAA: Sophie Bukovec

Sophie Bukovec added to her already impressive resume by winning her third straight NCAA Beach Volleyball National Championships with the USC Trojans. Bukovec graduates USC with a degree in sociology where she was named to the Dean’s List and won a Marks Scholar Award. Sophie has also won two PAC 12 Championships and been named an All American twice. Her overall record at USC was 103-3. 

Bukovec originally joined the NCAA as a member of the Long Beach State 49ers  indoor volleyball team where she helped win the NCAA Big West Championships. Before joining the NCAA Sophie played one year in the OUA at McMaster University. That season Mac won the OUA Championships. Bukovec won the Final 4 MVP, McMaster Rookie of the Year and was a member of the OUA All Rookie Team and OUA First Team All Star. On the beach Bukovec won the 2014 FIVB U21 World Championships with Tia Miric and the 2013 Canada Games with Ali Wooley.    

With so many accomplishments before she joined the Trojans it is impressive that Sophie continued to improve at such a high level, something she credits to the practice environment at USC. “Practice at USC, is unlike any practice that I have ever been apart of. My coaches and teammates have created the most competitive environment that is still all about the learning process. How those two can co-exist so perfectly at our practices, still blows my mind.” 

The NCAA uses a best of 5 format for beach volleyball where each school ranks their teams 1 to 5 and you compete against the same ranked team from the other school. The first school to win 3 matches wins the dual. What some fans may not know is that teams can improve or lower their ranking based on exhibition matches against your teammates in practice. “Having 5 separate pairs within a team creates an interesting dynamic. If you want to move up in your seeding, you have to consistently beat the pair above you. That brings out the fire in my teammates every practice. Every person on my team hates to lose more than they like to win.” Add in the tradition of excellence at USC with guests such as April Ross and Misty May stopping by practice makes the environment at USC one of a kind. “It has created the best environment for me to train in, being such a competitive person. I feel like I have improved so much at USC. I have been able to spend years out of my comfort zone. “

Sophie isn’t the only international athlete to experience success in the NCAA. Canadians Megan and Nicole McNamara have experienced lots of success at UCLA. A total of seven international athletes competed at the 2017 National Championships. As the sport continues to grow in the NCAA look for more international stars to play their post-secondary careers in the NCAA. “The sport is growing so rapidly in the U.S, with phenomenal coaches developing programs and creating strong competitive athletes. Many of the players in these top schools have competed in AVP’s, NORCECA’s, at World Championships for their respective country and some FIVB’s.” For any Canadians interested in pursueing a NCAA scholarship for beach volleyball Bukovec offers the following advice. “It is definitely scary to drop everything that is familiar, and live in a completely new place for four years. But it is so worth it. You not only find yourself, but you will make long lasting memories and friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your lives. She also added “A big thing that I learned while playing NCAA is that, you have the choice to create an environment that is right for you. Where you feel like you can improve, feel safe, feel comfortable, where you will make some of the best memories of your life. It is okay not to know what you want right away, but it is worth exploring!”

This summer Sophie will play with Olympian Jamie Broder. The pair won the latest Volleyball Canada Norceca Trials, earning the the right to represent Canada at the upcoming Norceca events. The pair will also travel on the FIVB World Tour. “I have been lucky to have the opportunity to compete against some of the best beach athletes in the U.S every day at practice, which has definitely prepared me for the world tour. You learn to manage relationships, travel, prepare and compete which are all necessary to be successful on tour. I am excited to finally become a professional athlete and compete on the world tour.”