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Canada’s Bansley and Pavan knock out China’s Xue/Xia

China's Chen Xue and Heather Bansley from Canada
Prague, Czech Republic, May 24, 2014 – Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan knocked out China’s Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia at the women’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour on Saturday. The 9th seeded Canadians won in two sets (21-19, 21-18) and now face Shanghai champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst from Germany in the quarterfinals this afternoon.

It is not the first time the Canadian team made it to the last eight, last year they finished 5th at the Long Beach Grand Slam.

Volleyball star Pavan joined Bansley for a few World Tour beach events in 2013. This year the 1,96 meter tall blocker is still alternating between indoor and beach, but wants to commit to beach completely next season.

After winning their pool on Friday, the Canadians came prepared in their first encounter with 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. “It was back and forth, point by point. We just had to be patient throughout the game.”

The Canadians targeted 17-year old Xia mostly and forced her to make mistakes. “That was our game plan”, explained Bansley. “To work her, to go after her.”

Both sets were very close, and it was Bansley’s ability to work around Xue’s block and provoking Xia to make mistakes that made the difference in the end.

Pavan: “Xia really likes to attack and that works really well for us, because I am a big blocker. She likes to swing hard at the ball and that works for us. We wanted to really make her work hard all game.”

In the afternoon they are up against 2nd seeded Ludwig and Walkenhorst who booked a 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) win over Austrians Katharina Schützenhöfer and Lena Plesiutschnig in the second elimination round.

“Our original goal was top ten and we reached that”, Sarah said about the quarterfinals. “Now we just want to keep getting better. Obviously whatever team we are going to play, is very strong. But we just want to keep improving our finishes and competing hard.”

The Canadians played the German top team once before, last year in pool play at the Berlin Grand Slam, and won 2-0. Bansley: “They have done well this year, so it’s going to be a tough team. We have to take our time to refocus and get ready for that game and be ready to battle again.”

Other quarterfnals

In the other quarterfinals third seeded Holtwick and Semmler take on Brazil’s Antonelli and Juliana, vice-world champions Borger and Büthe face the Austrian Schwaiger-sisters and the Polish team Kolosinska/Brzostek encounters home favourites Kolocova/Slukova.


FIVB Prague Open Tournament Page

FIVB Prague Open Main Draw

FIVB Prague Open Pool Standings

FIVB Prague Open Qualification

FIVB World Tour Twitter Account



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