Solid start to 2011 beach volleyball season for Canadians Lessard and Martin

MYSLOWICE, Poland - Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle, Que., and Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., will place a solid 13th in their season opening international competition at a World Tour stop on the beach volleyball circuit.

The Canadian pair vying for a top-16 world ranking by next year to earn an Olympic qualification spot, posted a victory in the second round of the repechage on Friday defeating 17th seeds Cristine Santanna and Martins das Chagas Andrezza of Georgia 14-21, 21-12, 15-13.

In the third round, Lessard and Martin lost to seventh seeds Angela Akers and Nicole Branagh of the U.S., 21-18, 21-15 to finish the tournament with a record of two wins and two losses. The tournament concludes with the remaining rounds this weekend.

‘’We had a difficult start to the first match (against Georgia) but we stayed patient,’’ said Martin. ‘’We were able to find our game again and started to serve well. That put them pretty much off balance for the rest of the match. The two Americans are very physical players and it became very much a service-reception game.’’

Still last season, Lessard and Martin didn’t make a top-13 until the fifth World Tour event of the season.

‘’We are very happy to get a top-13 finish right off the start,’’ said Martin. ‘’It took us awhile to get going last season. I think consistency is going to be the key to our success. Our goal is to get at least these kinds of results every time out.’’

The next stop on the World Tour is June 6-11 in Beijing.

Full results: www.fivb.com