Sarah Pavan, Heather Bansley survive 'Clash of Canadians,' reach Olympic beach v-ball quarters

Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley will represent Canada in the quarter-finals of the women's Olympic beach volleyball tournament following a 2-0 win (21-16, 21-11) over Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas in Saturday afternoon's all-Canadian matchup in Rio.

Will face world No. 1 Germans Laura Ludwig, Kira Walkenhorst at 4 p.m. ET Sunday

Heather Bansley, left, spikes against fellow Canadian Kristina Valjas in a women’s Round of 16 match at the Rio Olympics on Saturday. Sarah Pavan and Bansley won in straight sets to advance to Sunday’s quarter-finals. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

By Doug Harrison, CBC Sports

Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley will represent Canada in the quarter-finals of the women's beach volleyball tournament following a 2-0 win (21-16, 21-11) over Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas in Saturday afternoon's first-ever all-Canadian Olympic matchup in Rio.

Pavan and Bansley will meet world No. 1 Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. The Germans defeated Switzerland's Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Vergé-Dépré by scores of 21-19 and 21-10 on Saturday to improve their record to 4-0.

"The next game will definitely be tough against the Canadians," Ludwig, who has lost four of five international meetings with Walkenhorst against Pavan and Bansley, told reporters. "We have played them a lot and the matches are always hard. We just have to go out and enjoy the whole arena."

Pavan and Bansley, seeded fifth, are also unbeaten in Rio after going 3-0 to win Pool E in the preliminary round.

Broder and Valjas, who went 2-1 in the preliminaries, are eliminated and finish ninth at the Olympic tourney.

"A couple of years ago we didn't even think we could get to the Olympics," Valjas told reporters, "but the fact we finished top 10 in the world, we can't help but be proud of ourselves."

Said Pavan: "It is … unfortunate we had to meet so early in the draw, but I'm glad we came out on top."

Pavan and Bansley stormed out to a 6-0 lead following their first-set victory, but Broder and Valjas did let down. Trailing 9-3, they scored three straight points to make it a three-point game.

But Pavan and Bansley pulled away again, scoring six of the next 10 points and five in a row to make it 20-10.

Bansley drove the winning shot into the sand at the Copacabana Beach Arena in the opening set.

With Pavan and Bansley up 7-5, the six-foot-five Pavan outreached the six-foot-two Valjas on an exchange at the net.

Later, Pavan and Bansley extended the lead to 12-8 on a missed serve by Broder and Valjas, who had trouble with the former's smothering defence.

However, Broder and Valjas didn't wilt, cutting the deficit to two points at 17-15, but followed up that strong play by losing three of the next four points.

"They did a good job on their block defence and got in the way of a couple of our angles today," said Broder of Pavan and Bansley, who fired three aces and had 26 digs to Broder and Valjas' 14.

"We knew they were a confident team so we wanted to get on top early," Pavan said. "We really wanted to make our mark quickly in the game and I think we did that."

In men's action Saturday, Canada's Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk face Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands in a Round of 16 match at 6 p.m. ET. The winner advances to Monday's quarter-finals.

Saxton and Schalk went 1-2 in the preliminary round before dispatching Poland in straight sets in the Lucky Loser round.

Fellow Canadians Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter did not advance to the Round of 16.


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