Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan are separated by 10″ in height and it’s working for them.
Bansley has been named 2015’s Best Defensive player on the World Tour by FIVB for using her 5’7″ mobility to stop destined points from hitting the sand. Sarah Pavan was recognized as Best Blocker, this year the 6’5″ former indoor pro was dominant at the net.
One of Brazil’s top teams cleaned-up, winning four awards. Larissa is the Most Outstanding player and Best Offensive, while sharing Team of the Year with Talita who was recognized as Best Spiker. The awards are voted on by players, coaches, referees, and officials.
The awards serve as institutional recognition for Bansley and Pavan who were easily the Tour’s breakout story of 2015. Before the season no Canadian women’s team had ever won a World Tour medal, but Bansley and Pavan changed that by collecting two silver and two bronze. They’re also securely fourth on the provisional Olympic ranking, giving them a great shot at Rio 2016.
They were also remarkably consistent finishing top-5 in nine out of 12 FIVB events they played. Sarah Pavan has only been playing beach since 2013. This team will get better.
Related to Olympic rankings, this past season’s World Tour points carry-over and accumulate until June 2016 when the top-15 teams will qualify for Rio. Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas are currently eighth.
FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year
The 19-year-old defender’s selection adds to her Young Player Award from the FIFA Women’s World Cup this past summer. She plays her cold weather football with West Virginia University.
Kadeisha Buchanan highlights
Buchanan is among players like Japan’s Aya Miyama, Americans Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo, plus German keeper Nadine Angerer.
The list was created by FIFA’s Committee for Women’s Football, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and soccer magazine France Football. There will be a three-player shortlist on November 30th, the winner will be announced January 11th, 2016 at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala.