Canadians to fight for gold and bronze at under-21 beach volleyball worlds

HALIFAX – After starting the tournament with two losses, top-seeds Victoria Altomare and Melissa Humana-Paredes of Toronto are headed to the women’s gold medal match at the FIVB world under-21 beach volleyball championships.

On the men’s side, Garrett May and Danny Demyanenko of Toronto advanced to the bronze medal match.

Altomare and Humana-Parades posted two thrilling wins on Saturday. They defeated fifth seeds Victoria Bieneck and Cinja Tillman of Germany 21-19, 14-21, 15-12 in the quarterfinals then 13th seeds Daria Paszek and Renata Bekier of Poland 21-19, 15-21, 15-12 in the semis.

In the semifinal, the Canadians continuously brought their home-country fans to their feet in winning the first set and then coming from 5-8 down in the tiebreaker set to first tie it at 9-9 and then pull away to win it 15-12.

“We really had no pressure on us to win and we had already lost in pool play to this more experienced Polish team so we went out and played well enough to win,” said a happy Humana-Paredes, 18, who reunited with Altomare after a year apart. They had played four years together previously.

 “After we started 0-2 losing to two very good teams, we decided we wanted to win a medal, even though it was very hard and we had to get out of pool play first,’’ said Altomare, 20. ‘’ Now we want a gold medal.”

Their opponents for the gold are eighth seeds Nina Betschart and Joana Heidrich of Switzerland.

On the men’s side, ninth seeds Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland were Canadian killers, first beating sixth seeds Fiodar Kazhamiaka of Waterloo, Ont., and William Sidgwick of Toronto in the quarterfinals 21-16, 21-12 then number-ones Demyanenko and May in the semis 21-17, 21-16 in the semis.

Earlier Saturday, Demyanenko and May defeated fourth seeds Ruslan Bykanov and Andrey Bolgov of Russia 21-19, 21-19 in the quarters. May was looking for his second under-21 world crown after winning with Sam Schachter of Toronto last year.

May and Demyanenko face seconds seeds Vitor Felipe and Marcus Carvalhaes of Brazil for the bronze onSunday. Kantor and Losiak meet 20th seeds Valeriy Samoday and Sergiy Popov of Ukraine for the gold.

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For more information: www.volleyball.ca and www.fivb.org