Rio 2016 beach volleyball tournament kick off for Team Canada holding promise for the near future.
While the Canadian teams claimed two wins in its four first round matches of the group stage, the maple leaf squad reaffirmed its quality and competed on equal terms with all opponents.
The Canadian journey in Copacabana beach started on Saturday with the men’s duo of Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter. They were narrowly defeated 2-0 (21-19, 22-20) by the top-ranked team of Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt, from Brazil, but showed their worth in a well-balanced match.
The first Canadian victory in the Olympic tournament came with Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley. The pair beat Sophie van Gestel and Jantine van der Vlist of Netherlands 2-0 (21-19, 22-20) in a dominant victory.
Also on Sunday, Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas got their first win after managing to hold off the hard-charging Italians Marta Menegatti and Laura Giombini in their Olympic debut 2-1 (15-21, 21-18, 15-9).
“Getting our serves in was a key thing, we missed so many in the first set. I think that’s our game and we did a really good job of that,” said Valjas.
Supported by the Canadian and Brazilian fans, the duo delivered a great performance in a thrilling match. The endorsement of the local fans was noticed by Schalk/Saxton opponent, Alexanders Samoilovs.
“At the beginning I was surprised, so many fans were cheering for Canada. When we entered the stadium it was so loud, we both were like ‘What? We’re playing Canada, not Brazil’.”
Even with the support in the bleachers, Schalk/Saxton were overpowered by the 8th ranked duo of at the end of the tie-break and lost 2-1 (21-17, 18-21, 15-13).
On Monday, at 8 p.m. (ET), Binstock and Schachter will pursue their first win at Rio 2016 against the Italians Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri.