In their return to the sand, the reigning World Champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes looked to pick up right where they left off before the pandemic hit at the 2021 Katara Beach Volleyball Cup in Doha, Qatar, a four-star event of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. They made their way through the tournament with strong performances and decisive victories, defeating teams from Brazil, Russia and even their fellow Canadians, Brandie Wilkerson and Heather Bansley in their pursuit of the gold.
The four-day Cup came to a head when the Canadians found themselves on the opposite side of two-time Olympian April Ross and partner Alix Klineman of the United States, the team they beat to capture the World Championship in 2019 in Hamburg. The two teams were point for point - a nail biter throughout as Melissa was clutch on the defensive and Sarah dominant up at the net. After a narrow first set loss, the U.S. pulled away in the final stretch of the second set to win the tournament. Pavan and Humana-Paredes settle with the silver in their 2021 debut, earning 720 points. The intense match was a great showcase and reminder to the world of Canada's proficiency on the sand.
Click here to watch the match.
Wilkerson and Bansley had a formidable return as well, placing tenth and garnering 400 points for their performance. Placing third in their Pool, they were knocked out of the tournament in the Round 2 by Pavan and Humana-Paredes in a three-set match.
The FIVB has recently announced their 2021 beach volleyball calendar and Olympic qualifiers. The calendar will feature eight 4-star events, nine 1 and 2-star events, the World Tour Finals and the U19 World Championships. The next event is scheduled to run from April 16-May 2 at Cancun Hub, Mexico. The four-star is broken down into three events.
Photo: FIVB. Pavan and Humana-Paredes in a rematch against Ross and Klineman who they defeated in 2019 to win the World Championship