Sand suits Canadian Pavan
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, July 16, 2014 – The 2013 beach volleyball season was something of a learning curve for Sarah Pavan. The Canadian took to the sand after being a member of the women’s national indoor team for almost a decade with the aim of competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Sarah Pavan and partner Heather Bansley picked up a fifth-place finish in Gstaad and are looking to build on that at the US$1-million Transavia Grand Slam|
Since then she has three fifth-place finishes on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour alongside partner Heather Bansley, including at the Gstaad Grand Slam in Switzerland earlier this month.
But the 27-year-old is well aware that there is still a lot of work to be done to reach a tournament podium.
“The first year I kind of felt like a chicken with my head cut off just trying to figure out all the nuances of the game,” Pavan explained. “Even though I’ve played indoor forever, the two sports are completely different. Last year was about learning the game and getting a feel for it. This year is about taking what I know and implementing a lot more things and doing them better.”
Indeed Pavan and Bansley nearly pulled off one of the shocks of the US$1-million Transavia Grand Slam in Amsterdam on Wednesday, pushing London 2012 Olympic Games gold and silver medallists USA’s Kerri Walsh and April Ross to the brink in a thrilling clash, losing 17-15 after a hard-fought battle in the third set.
Whilst there is no doubting Pavan’s athletic ability, she admits that some parts of beach volleyball are tougher to adapt to.
“Obviously the technical stuff and tactical stuff is different. There’s more of a mind game in beach, playing games defensively and stuff. But I’ve had the opportunity to play with the best indoor players in the world and just playing at such a high level and the compete factor and knowing how to win I think definitely helps.”
And her ambition knows no boundaries as she is already looking towards 2015 and the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.
“We took a fifth in Gstaad and we were happy with that but we know there is still more. Top ten is always a must but we haven’t been to a semifinal yet so that’s a big goal for us.
“It [the World Championships] is a huge event,” she said. “Everybody is just gearing up for that. I think it’s really interesting that they’re doing it in different cities just to spread it out a little bit and get other people involved. It’s a different concept but it’s unique and I like it.
“It’s nice to see something different. A lot of the events are held at the same venue every single year. It’s nice to get out of that little bubble. At every event you always have every single athlete and it’s always so busy. There are only eight teams here so it’s a lot quieter, a lot more relaxed. It’s very nice.”
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