2017 FIVB BEACH VOLLEYBALL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – VIENNA
- July 28 to August 6
- Vienna Centre Court, Vienna, Austria
- Event Site
- Facts & Figures
- Watch on YouTube
It’s been a good summer for Canadian volleyball. After the men’s indoor team had a record-high finish at the FIVB World League, the country’s beach pairs are picking up the torch this week in Vienna. That includes knocking off the defending men’s Olympic and World Champions on Friday morning, and now on Friday afternoon, the country’s top women’s pair has advanced to the semi-finals.
Canada has never won a medal at a FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship, but Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes will have the chance to do just that over the weekend. They only need one win in their final two matches to guarantee themselves a medal of any color.
They arrived at that stage by beating Germany’s Laboureur/Sude, who were the tournament’s overall #2 seeds (the Canadians were seeded 7th). Pavan/Humana-Paredes joined forces last year after the Olympics under some dramatic circumstances (that included requiring them to have a play-in match for the World Tour finals), and the move is paying off big this season. The two have finished in the top 4 at all but one tournament so far this season, which includes a win in the Porec major.
This victory is even bigger for Humana-Paredes, as it breaks a curse of sorts for her. It was her first career win against Julia Sude, one of the great beach players in the world, in 7 career matches. That includes a 2-0 thumping in Moscow that ended the Canadians’ tournament early for their worst finish of the season.
By taking a confident-looking 2-0 win, though, not only do Pavan/Humana-Paredes advance, they insert themselves among the sports elite. To challenge for titles on the beach, teams have to enter matches knowing that there are no teams in the world that are “unbeatable” to them. This win should give the Canadians that confidence.
In this match, both teams had a clear plan. For Canada, it was to serve Julia Sude on the left side. For Germany, it was to serve Melissa Humana-Paredes on the right side, with a heavy emphasis on cross-court serving for both teams and hitting for Germany.
Ultimately, Canada’s line shots made the difference. Germany hit only 36% in the match and had just 1 block. Sarah Pavan, meanwhile, was able to dig in on Germany’s more predictable attacks and block 5 shots – including 4 in the second set alone.
Humana-Paredes spoke to this in her post-match interview (video below). The Canadians had tons of touches, even when they weren’t blocking, leaving Germany without the ability to get clean shots. Laboureur said after the match that Germany wasn’t very “brave” in the attacks, in spite of good setting.