Schalk and Saxton win beach volleyball World Cup trials

 TORONTO – Chaim Schalk of Red Deer, Alta., and Ben Saxton of Calgary earned Canada’s berth for next month’s FIVB World Cup beach volleyball final on Saturday winning the deciding match at the team trials.

The contest was held indoors at the Beach High Performance Facility at Downsview Park in Toronto.

Schalk and Saxton defeated Christian Redmann and Matt Zbyszewski of Toronto 24-22, 21-18.  It was the second big win this fall for the Alberta pair who took gold at a stop on the NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean) circuit in late September.

“We tried to keep the same strategy,” said Schalk.  “And that was not to give up any long point runs.  We weren’t quite as consistent as yesterday, and at times sloppy, but Christian’s service put us into trouble at times.”

The FIVB World Cup final is scheduled for January 9-13 in Brazil and will offer more than $300,000 in cash prizes.  Schalk and Saxton plan to travel to California before the event to get some valuable outdoor training time.

“Our block defence this weekend here was very good,” said Saxton.  “We want to improve on the consistency of our serves, and to especially serve hard on a more consistent basis as well.”

On the women’s side, Liz Maloney and Heather Bansley of Toronto had already locked up the World Cup spot.  They were Canada’s top-ranked international team all season.