Pavan and Bansley Look Strong in World Tour Debut

Canada’s Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., and Heather Bansley of Waterdown, Ont., had a strong 2014 FIVB tour debut, finishing fifth at the Prague Open today in the Czech Republic. 

The beach volleyball pair swept their pool matches, and earlier today knocked out China’s Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia. The ninth-seeded Canadians won in two sets (21-19 21-18) and then faced second-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany in the quarterfinals this afternoon, losing 2-0 (21-11, 21-8).

It is not the first time the Canadian team made it to the final eight, last year they finished fifth at the Long Beach Grand Slam. 

After winning their pool on Friday, Pavan and Bansley were ready for the world champion Xue and her young partner Xia, who won two gold medals in Phuket and Durban last year and two bronzes (Fuzhou and Puerto Vallarta Open) this season. 

“We prepared for a tough game against a really strong team and they played well most of the game”, said Bansley told after beating the Chinese pair. “It was back and forth, point by point. We just had to be patient throughout the game.” 

“Our original goal was top 10 and we reached that," Pavan said of the quarterfinals.

The Canadians played the German top team once before, last year in pool play at the Berlin Grand Slam, and won 2-0.

The other Canadian team at this women’s tournament – Kacie MacTavish and Caleigh Whitaker, both of Sharon, Ontario – finished 25th.
(With reports from

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