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Canadian star shines with Brazilian club

 
Canadian Sarah Pavan said playing with the Brazilian club is her priority right now.
 
Zurich, Switzerland, October 9, 2013 – Canada's star indoor player Sarah Pavan may have felt more comfortable playing with her opponents in the first match of the first day of the FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championships, but she sure didn't show it. With the second highest points for Brazilian club Unilever Volei on Thursday (11), the 1.96 meter-tall, 26 year old fits right in with the hard-hitting team, which quickly defeated USA's Iowa Ice 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-22).

"In Brazil, the game is a lot faster, the players are a lot more physical and overall they are just very athletic," Pavan said, following her team's victory. "It was a bit of an adjustment to play with the speed and the physicality of their game, but that's why they're the best."

Pavan said playing with the Brazilian club is her priority right now. But, after the season, she has much bigger goals in beach volleyball. Pavan was a four-time First Team All-American at the University on Nebraska and previously played in Italy as well as the Canadian national team, but most recently she spent the summer competing at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships with fellow Canadian and beach veteran Heather Bansley. Together, their sights are set on the 2016 Olympics.

"Indoor is my first love so I'm going to continue to do that. I'm not ready to give that up," she said. "But, I've always wanted to go to the Olympics and it's probably not going to happen indoor with Canada. So, my only option to represent my country is on the beach."

Pavan's experience with the Brazilian team will likely help build her success on the sand. And along with the skills, she's also getting a unique cultural experience as an athlete in the country.

"(Brazilians) love sports, and other than soccer it's volleyball," she said. "I think that's so cool because in North America you don't really see that much. It's so fun to be a part of a culture that appreciates the sport and knows what's going on with the teams. It's awesome."

She still, however, has high hopes for the success of the sport in Canada.

"The Canadian men, especially, have been doing great," she said. "It's a process and a lot of the top counties in the would have gotten there over a period of many years. I think things are heading in the right direction right now, but its going to take some time for the results to show."

Being so far away from home, and traveling the world with Unilever Volei, Pavan connects with friends and fans on Twitter, where she has nearly 4,000 followers. She also used the platform to first announce she would be playing with Unilever Volei in the 2012/13 season.

"I'm a very shy person by nature, so it's not particularly easy for me to just put myself out there in person,“ she said. "I know that can be interpreted in not a way that I intend, so I try to use social media to show the fans that I appreciate them and all of their support, where it would be more difficult for me to go out and give them hugs and stuff."

Her biggest message for fans: "Always push to be a little better than you were the day before," she said.

"I think that for me, it's never being satisfied with where you are. I've tried to live by that my whole life. The moment start to think that you're at a good spot and when you think that you're good enough, that's when you're going to stop improving."





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