Olympian Heather Bansley received a special birthday gift, earning a spot in the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals with partner Brandie Wilkerson on Tuesday.
The pair went up against Sarah Pavan – Bansley’s former beach volleyball partner – and her new teammate Melissa Humana-Paredes. The all-Canadian matchup came after Pavan and Bansley parted ways following their fifth place finish in Rio, leaving a spot in the FIVB finals in Toronto up for grabs.
Bansley and Wilkerson won Tuesday’s decider in two straight sets. Despite Pavan and Humans-Parades beginning the competition with an early lead, Bansley and Wilkerson came back from three set points to win 21-23. The pair carried its winning momentum into the second, winning 21-13 to secure a spot in the pool competition starting on Wednesday.
Rio 2016 duo Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas open the women’s competition for Canada against Brazil’s Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes at 2:30pm ET. Followed by Bansley and Wilkerson, who will face Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Laura Gimbini. Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter will cap off the day for Canada, playing Nick Lecena and Phil Dalhausser from the United States.