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2017-08-23 15:53:00 CET

Canadian rivals meet again one year on

What a year it’s been for Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes

Sarah battles at the net as Melissa looks on during their win over Heather and BrandieSarah battles at the net as Melissa looks on during their win over Heather and Brandie

Twelve months ago in the World Tour Finals in Toronto, Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes’ first game together ended in defeat to Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson.

It was a game arranged at short notice following a dramatic late split between Canada’s 2016 Olympic team Pavan and Bansley – and one that Bansley/Wilkerson triumphed 23-21, 21-13.

However, fast forward a year and it’s Pavan and new partner Humana-Paredes that have enjoyed a first season on the sand to remember with a host of podium places and a first gold together in Poreč.

The two rival teams went head-to-head in the first women’s pool play match of the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone in Hamburg – and it was Pavan and Humana-Paredes that claimed an important opening victory, coming from behind to record a win in three captivating sets against the rival teams.

Afterwards, the question was a simple one: what’s the last year been like since that match on Polson Pier?

“I think that game really spoke to us on a deeper level,” said Melissa. “That made us work so much harder in the off-season and I think that game made us realize that I had to adapt a lot.

“After that game we really built up trust that we can do this together and play at a high level. It brought us closer. That might sound strange because it was a bad loss – it was tough. But it made us think what we could achieve this season, how much we’ve grown, and since then is amazing. It’s been a whirlwind first year and there’s so much more to come.”

Sarah, who was in superb form throughout at the net, added: “People didn’t realize that first game in Toronto was the first time that Melissa had played on the left.

“To be thrown into that situation, a terrible situation, for her to come into that mess and play a new position amid so much drama I give her 100 per cent credit. It’s awesome. How she has taken on board everything and taken off in this first season is amazing.”

Having lost the first set, Pavan and Humana-Paredes stormed back, winning a combined 36 points in the final two sets.

The reason for the comeback… “We just woke up!” laughed Melissa.

You can watch this game back on demand on BeachStream – as well as all of the matches live during this evening’s session. Click here to sign-up!

Full Story: The split-up of Pavan/Bansley

Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley about the reasons for splitting up, their new teammates and their plans.

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