Toronto, Canada, September 13, 2016 - It was probably her best present ever here Tuesday as Brandie Wilkerson helped present Heather Bansley a successful conclusion on her 29th birthday by winning the Canadian country quota match on Polson Pier to advance to the Main Draw at this week’s US$500,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals.
Bansley and Wilkerson scored a 2-0 (23-21, 21-13) win in 35 minutes over compatriots Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan to advance to Wednesday’s schedule where the newly-formed team will play Laura Giombini and Marta Menegatti of Italy before concluding Pool D action Thursday against Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany.
Tuesday’s country quota match was scheduled after Bansley and Pavan ended their 38-event FIVB World Tour partnership after placing fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where the Canadians were eliminated by eventual “Summer” Games champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany.
For the 24-year old Wilkerson and 23-year old Humana-Paredes, the two Canadians were developing their skills the past two international seasons with Julie Gordon (12 FIVB World Tour events together) and Taylor Pischke (28), respectively.
Following the match, here are the comments from the participating players.
Bansley - “It was great to be playing in my home city, and to finish off this season here. Winning that first set really put the pressure on them. We got an early lead in the second set and just wanted to keep that momentum going.”
Wilkerson - “Initially I was a bit shaky but having someone like Heather be a foundation for our team and allowing me to get into my rhythm and my flow and just making it about us and our game. We have the advantage of playing free and having to start with such a high pressure situation after this is just kind of a bonus for me.”
Pavan - “It was a little weird to be on the opposite side this time (than Heather). We’re disappointed with the result but this is just the beginning. We weren’t expecting miracles by any means.”
Humana-Paredes - “Of course we are disappointed but we saw some good things out there and saw a lot of good that we can improve on and four years to do that for our big goal - Tokyo.”