Pan Am success for Bansley and Maloney

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – Heather Bansley and Liz Maloney of Toronto showed the patience that made them one of the breakout teams in international beach volleyball this year in their opening match victory Sunday at the Pan Am Games.

Bansley and Maloney defeated Virginia Zonta and Ana Gallay of Argentina 18-21, 22-20, 15-6 under ideal conditions at the beach resort city which is hosting beach volleyball events at the Games.

‘’We were a little nervous at the start,’’ said Maloney about the 56 minute match. ‘’It’s a pair we have never played before and it took us a couple of sets to figure them out.’’

In serving, both teams executed 12 service faults but Canada had the upper hand in aces with six to three for the Argentineans. Bansley and Maloney also fared better with their attack percentage.

In the other pool G match, Yarleen Santiago and Yamileska Yantin of Puerto Rico defeated Diana Romero and Marcela Avalos of El Salvador 21-4, 21-7. The Canadians play the Puerto Ricans on Monday and the Salvadorians on Tuesday. The top-two in each of the four pools advances to the quarterfinals.

Bansley and Maloney emerged as Canada’s top international pair in 2011 They moved up to 23rd in the world rankings this season posting three top-10 finishes on the World Tour circuit and placing 17th at the world championships in Rome.

‘’The key to our success has been our consistency,’’ said Maloney. ‘’That has given us a shot to qualify for the Olympics through the international ranking system.’’

Bansley and Maloney can gain an Olympic berth automatically if they are ranked in the top-16 in the world on June 16, 2012.

On the men’s side, Christian Redmann of Oro Station, Ont., and Ben Saxton of Balzac, Alta., start their tournament on Monday.

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