Lessard and Martin lose classic match at Olympics

 LONDON (July 31, 2012)  – Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., and Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle, Que., were on the wrong end of a match what may go down as one of the most memorable and entertaining beach volleyball games at the 2012 Olympics.

The Canadian pair lost a crucial preliminary round match 21-18, 28-30, 15-13 on Tuesday night to Ekaterina Khomyakova and Evgenia Ukolova of Russia.  The defeat put Martin and Lessard at 0-2 and fourth place in their group with one match left.  Only the top-three in each group have a chance to advance.

‘’We were very strong in the first two sets,’’ Martin told Sportcom.  ‘’They made some nice defensive plays and moved well.’’

After tying the match 1-1 in an incredible second set, Martin and Lessard overcame a 2-5 deficit in the third to take a 7-6 lead.  They built that advantage to 11-8 on a service ace by Lessard.

Martin put Canada up 13-12 on an attack that went off Khomyakova’s blocking attempt but it was the last point the Canadians would score.  Khomyakova tied it at 13-13  on the kill, Ukolova scored to put the Russians ahead and sealed the match with an ace.

‘’We believed we could win the match,’’ said Martin.  ‘’The third set was a heartbreaker.’’

In the second set, the Canadians squandered set point 11 times before finally sealing it on Martin’s successful attack.

The Canadians face Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti of Italy (2-0), the top-seeded pair in their group on Thursday at noon London time or 7 a.m. EDT in Canada.

The last day of preliminary round action for the men concludes on Wednesday.  Josh Binstock of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Martin Reader of Comox, B.C., (1-1) face Pedro Cunha and Ricardo Santos of Brazil (2-0) at 8 p.m. London time or 3 p.m. EDT in Canada.


Canadian beach volleyball schedule (all times EDT in Canada)


August 1


3 p.m.: Binstock and Reader vs Pedro Cunha and Ricardo Santos BRA


August 2


7 a.m.: Martin and Lessard vs Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti ITA



Information: www.volleyball.ca