Martin and Lessard drop opening match at Olympics

 LONDON (July 29, 2012) – Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., and Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle, Que., lost their opening preliminary round match 17-21, 21-14, 15-13 to Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin of Britain in beach volleyball at the Olympic Games.

After struggling in the second set, Martin and Lessard appeared to have regained their first set touch gaining and 8-5 lead in the third.  But the British pair scored six of the next seven points and didn’t relinquish the lead again.

‘’It’s unfortunate the match didn’t go our way,’’ Martin told Sportcom.  ‘’It was a good match, we had our moments but we made more errors than usual.’’

On the winning point, Martin’s block on a Dampney smash went wide sending the 15,000 pro British crowd into a frenzy. 

Martin and Lessard enjoyed a great start to the match and built a lead as high as six points midway through the first set.  The British pair made four service errors in the set compared to none for the Canadians and Canada scored three service aces.

But it was the complete reverse in the second set.  This time, Dampney and Mullin led from the start and the only highlight for Canada was a four-point run which brought the score from 7-14 to 11-14.

‘’They destabilized us with their service reception in the second set,’’ said Lessard.

Overall in the match, while the British made several service errors they were more successful in their attacks scoring 63 percent compared to 46 for the Canadians.  Lessard was credited with two aces, 12 kills and six digs while Martin had three aces, 10 kills, three blocks and six digs in the exciting match.

In the other pool F match, Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti of Italy defeated Ekaterina Khomyakova and Evgenia Ukolova of Russia 17-21, 21-18, 15-8.

Martin and Lessard face the Russians in their next match on Tuesday.

Men’s action resumes on Monday with Josh Binstock of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Martin Reader of Comox, B.C., (1-0) facing Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr of Norway (0-1).  Start time is 11 a.m. in London or 6 a.m. EDT in Canada.




Canadian beach volleyball schedule (all times EDT in Canada)



July 30


6 a.m.: Binstock and Reader vs Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr NOR


July 31


3 p.m.: Martin and Lessard vs Ekaterina Khomyakova and Evgenia Ukolova, RUS


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