Continental Cup victory a memorable experience for Martin Reader

SANTO DOMINGO – Martin Reader (at right on photo with Schalk) won’t soon forget Canada’s gold medal performance this week at the Continental Cup beach volleyball tournament.

Reader, of Comox, B.C., and his playing partner Chaim Schalk of Red Deer, Alta., as well as their compatriots Christoper Redmann of Toronto and Ben Saxton of Calgary, defeated Cuba on Wednesday in a dramatic five-set final.

 In the unique team event, each Canadian pairing played twice then Reader and Schalk marched back on the court for a third time taking the golden set 15-13. The top-four finish also assured Canada a spot in the Continental Cup Final Olympic qualifying tournament next year.

‘’It was such a great experience,’’ said Reader. ‘’We worked towards a goal as an entire Canadian team. The format of two teams facing off was so much fun and it brought our teams closer together as we assisted in achieving victory.’’

Reader said he and his partner reached new heights in the tournament.

‘’In the finals, Chaim and I played the best ball we ever have in our partnership,’’ he said. ‘’We were able to defeat both Cuban teams. The fifth set was such a high pressure match but we had taken down both teams that day so we were feeling very strong and confident. We handled the pressure very well and it was an incredible set.’’

Sticking to the game plan was a key to success.

‘’Our sideout play really clicked and our defense gave our highly athletic opponents trouble,’’ Reader continued. ‘’Chaim was a force while transition hitting and I was getting heavy touches at the net which proved be too much for the aggressive Cubans.

‘’It was a monumental victory for our team and for all of Team Canada.’’

Reader and Schalk compete this weekend at the NORCECA stop being held at the same venue as the Continental Cup before travelling next week to Shanghai for a stop on the FIVB World Tour circuit.