The ability to win isn't something you're born with; it's a skill that's learned and honed over time. Luckily, both Canadian athletes have been learning those lessons since day one, from some Canadian volleyball legends.
Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg, Mb) grew up as a gym rat. Her father, Garth Pischke, is one of the legends of Canadian volleyball. The winningest coach in CIS history for the University of Manitoba Bisons, a two-time Olympian, and former coach of the men's indoor National team, you can bet he's passed along a thing or two along to his daughter.
Before teaming up with Melissa, Taylor was an indoor superstar. Member of the Canadian National team program, she was one of the most dominant outside players in the CIS for a few years, it all culminating with a National Championship in 2014 with the Bisons. Ending her career on a high note, she hung up the shoes in favour of a bikini when Melissa came searching for a partner.
Melissa Humaña-Paredes (Toronto, On) was the other side of the coin, growing up on the beach amongst the greats of the Canadian beach scene. Her father, Hernan Humaña, is a former member of the Chilean National team and coached Mark Heese and John Child to a bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Obviously, she's been around the sport more than most. You can see it in the way she moves with confidence on the court, almost knowing where the ball will go before the plays even made. Pair this to her fierce competitive attitude and wide offensive arsenal, and you get the 2014 FIVB Rookie of the Year.
At only 22-years old, this team has already made a name for themselves on the FIVB World Tour. Playing in their first full season last year, they picked up their second-straight U23 World Championship medal and ended the season with a fifth-place finish at the Sao Paolo Grand Slam and by winning the NORCECA Championships in Trinidad & Tobago.
Although a podium finish is not something to be guaranteed, one thing is for sure, this team will be a crowd favourite at Toronto 2015.