Bansley and Maloney on track for playoff round

 SHANGHAI – Heather Bansley and Liz Maloney of Toronto appear in a good position to advance to the playoff round at the third stop on the FIVB World Tour beach volleyball circuit after a win and a loss on Wednesday.

Bansley and Maloney opened the tournament defeating Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Hanson of the U.S., 21-12, 21-15 then lost to second-seeds Talita Da Rocha Antunes and Maria Antonelli of Brazil 21-18, 21-14.

The Brazilians lead the pool B standings at 2-0 followed by the Canadians and Americans at 1-1 while Georgia’s Cristine Santanna and Andrezza Martins das Chagas are 0-2.  Bansley and Maloney face the Georgians on Thursday to close out the round robin.

The top-two in each of the eight pools advance to the playoff round.

This is first Grand Slam event on the Tour which offers higher cash prizes and a different tournament format.  In the regular World Tour events, the 32 pairs play a double elimination format.

At the opening two stops on the tour, Bansley and Maloney were 17th and seventh and are in contention to land an Olympic spot through the FIVB World Tour rankings.  The top 16 at the end of June earn a ticket to London.  The Canadians are currently 20th.

The men’s qualifying was also held on Wednesday.  Josh Binstock of Toronto and Martin Reader of Comox, B.C.,; Maverick Hatch of Comox and Sam Schachter of Toronto as well as Christian Redmann of Toronto and Ben Saxton of Calgary were all one win short of advancing after opening with a victory.

Richard Van Huizen of Toronto and Garrett May of London, Ont., lost their opening match.  The top two Canadian men teams on the tour will advance to the Continental Cup next month to battle for an Olympic spot.

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