Pavan, Humana-Paredes open FIVB World Tour finals with victory
Canada has 3 teams in 24-team field
Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan kicked off the FIVB World Tour finals with a pool-play victory on Wednesday, defeating fellow Canadians Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson in Germany.
The third-seeded pair of Humana-Paredes and Pavan beat their fellow countrywomen, who are ranked 11th, in three sets (20-22, 21-12, 15-9).
Humana-Paredes and Pavan started shaky, trailing 16-20 in the first set, before tying it 20-20. They would eventually drop the set, but the near comeback seemed to set the tone for the rest of the match.
"In the first set it took us a little bit too long to wake up. Once we realized that the game was on the line, we turned things around and we started playing kind of our style," said Humana-Paredes. "We took what we needed to and we made it work. We need to keep this consistency since every team is amazing here."
Humana-Paredes and Pavan, who finished fourth at the FIVB world championships earlier this month in Vienna, Austria, controlled the tempo in the final two sets to defeat their Canadian teammates for the second time in three tries.
Both teams conclude group action on Thursday against the sixth-seeded Czech pair of Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova. Bansley and Wilkerson will play in the morning while Humana-Paredes and Pavan will meet Hermannova and Slukova in the afternoon.
"For us, it's definitely about improving on these inconsistencies we had in this game," said Wilkerson. "It's in our control, so as long as we keep focusing on each play and on our side out, our transition, in every part of the game, just keeping it solid, I think we'll be happy about our performance."
On the men's side, 12th-seeded Canadians Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk lost both of their matches, the first to European champions Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy in straight sets, and the next to German duo Markus Böckermann and Lorenz Schümann in three sets.
The tournament is comprised of 24 teams (12 men's, 12 women's) split up into four groups.