Road To The Olympic Games

Recap

Chaim Schalk, Ben Saxton drop opener at beach v-ball World Tour event

​Improvement in the second half of sets likely will be a goal of Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton going forward at beach volleyball's World Tour Finals in Toronto, where they fell in straight sets to Americans Tri Bourne and John Hyden in their opening match Thursday.

Canadians struggle in 2nd half of both sets in 2-0 loss to Americans Bourne, Hyden

Canada's Ben Saxton, right, keeps a close eye on teammate Chaim Schalk during their opening match at beach volleyball's World Tour Finals in Toronto on Thursday. They dropped a pair of 21-17 decisions to Tri Bourne and John Hyden of the United States and fill finish pool play Friday at 3 p.m. against Brazil's Pedro Solberg and Evandro Goncalves.

Improvement in the second half of sets likely will be a goal of ChaimSchalk and Ben Saxton going forward at beach volleyball's World Tour Finals.

The Alberta tandem watched Tri Bourne and John Hyden gradually pull away in Thursday afternoon's matchup at Polson Pier in Toronto, a straight-sets win (21-17, 21-17) by the Americans, who won Pool D with a 2-0 record and gained a berth in the men's quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon.

Schalk and Saxton, who lost to the Netherlands in the Round of 16 at the Rio Olympics, face Brazil's Pedro Solberg and Evandro Goncalves on Friday at 3 p.m. ET. They will also meet Saturday morning in the elimination round to determine who advances to the quarter-finals.

The Canadians held an 11-10 advantage in the first set Thursday as the U.S. tied the game 12-12 on a pair of Bourne blocks. The Americans went ahead 13-12 and increased the margin to two on an ace by the 43-year-old Hyden.

Schalk and Saxton didn't trail by more than three points until the latter went too deep on a serve to allow the U.S. to go up 20-16. Hyden sealed matters with a touch following a Schalk save on match point.

With set two tied 11-11, the teams exchanged the next eight points before Hyden and Bourne went ahead 17-15 when an attacking Schalk hit the ball out of bounds. The U.S. picked up four of the next six points for the win, highlighted by a sensational return to extend its lead to 20-17, and leads the all-time series 2-1.

Canada's other men's duo, Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter, wrap up pool play Friday at 2 p.m. They lost their opening Pool C match 2-1 (16-21, 21-16, 15-9) to Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena on Wednesday.

Broder, Valjas fall to 0-2

Three-set matches continue to be the downfall of Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas.

The Canadians remain winless following Thursday afternoon's 2-1 loss (21-19, 13-21, 14-16) to Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain.

Broder and Valjas, who led 8-2 and 12-9 in the third set, are 0-2 this week and 10-12 in three-set matches this season. They will have to play another match Friday in hopes of advancing to the quarter-finals later that day.

"I think they never let up on their serving and they put us in trouble with our side-out," Valjas said in a statement on the FIVB website. "Their defence was strong because they set it up with their tough serves and when you can't really put a strong attack forward, you can't side-out and they built points from there."

The Canadians will get a rematch with Baquerizo and Fernandez in Friday's elimination round after the Spaniards were beaten in straight sets by Brazil's Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca, the 2015 World Tour Finals champions, later on Thursday. Antunes and Franca move on to Friday's quarter-finals.

Spaniards on a roll

Broder and Valjas also fell in three sets to the Spanish duo at last year's World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and trail 4-2 in six FIVB World Tour meetings.

Baquerizo and Fernandez, who evened their record to 1-1 in Toronto and 44-27 this season, are coming off a career-best second-place finish at the Long Beach Grand Slam in California.

After a back-and-forth opening set Thursday, Spain held leads of 10-6, 13-7 and 19-10 in the second before finishing off Broder and Valjas.

In other Canadian action, fourth-ranked Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson lost 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 9-15) to No. 5 Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany at 5:30 p.m.

Eleven of the 12 men's teams and 10 of the 12 women's squads that competed at the Rio Olympics are vying for the $100,000 US top prize in each gender.

There are four pools of three teams for men and women that will play a round-robin competition, with the winner earning a bye to the single-elimination quarter-finals. The second- and third-place teams in each pool will meet each other for a place in the final eight.

The World Tour Finals is the only FIVB international tournament in Canada this season and the first in the country since the Quebec Open in 2011. Toronto last hosted a double-gender beach volleyball World Tour event in 2000.

Schedule

Men

  • Pool play matches: Thursday and Friday
  • Round of 16: Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. ET
  • Quarter-finals: Saturday at 4:45 and 5:45 p.m. ET
  • Semifinals: Sunday at 10 and 11 a.m. ET
  • Bronze medal game: Sunday at 1:45 p.m. ET
  • Gold medal game: Sunday at 3 p.m. ET

Women

  • Pool play matches: Through Thursday
  • Round of 16: Friday, starting at 11:30 a.m. ET
  • Quarter-finals: Friday at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET
  • Semifinals: Saturday at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. ET
  • Bronze medal game: Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET
  • Gold medal game: Saturday at 2:45 p.m. ET

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