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Canada Beach Volleyball Leaves 2023 Pan American Games with Silver

By Ontario Volleyball Association, 10/30/23, 11:45AM EDT


Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson continue to prove they are one of the best beach volleyball duos in the world with a Pan American Games silver now added to their list of accolades. The 2023 Santiago Pan American Games beach volleyball tournament finished on Friday, October 27 with the women's team locking second place and the men's team of Jake MacNeil and Alex Russell securing fifth in their bracket.

The Toronto pair had a flawless run in the tournament up until their gold medal match against Ana Patricia Silva and Eduarda 'Duda' Santos Lisboa of Brazil.  An exciting back-and-forth finals, the Canadians were just on the cusp of gold with the sets tallying 20-22 and 18-21. The team was coming off the heels of a fifth place finish at the World Championships in Mexico where Ana Patricia and Duda earned a silver medal, having fell to the United States' Sarah Hughes and Kelly Cheng. 

Melissa and Brandie bookend their Pan Am run with two incredible achievements - opening the games as the country's designated flag bearers and now closing with a silver medal in hand. After a long season, the two have their eyes firmly fixed on the 2024 Paris Olympic Summer Games.

After defeating Uruguay in the Round of 12, MacNeil and Russell were unable to overcome the hometown heroes of Chile in the quarterfinals, setting them up for classification placement. After defeating Argentina the two won fifth place by default after Mexico withdrew from the match.

The silver medal achieved by Melissa and Brandie is the best performance from a Canadian women's team at the Pan American Games and is only Canada's second medal in the discipline at the Games. The country has historically landed the majority of the tournaments just outside of medal contention since the event debuted at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg. Melissa competed at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, finishing fourth with partner Taylor Pischke. Santiago 2023 was Brandie's first Pan Ams.

Fun fact: OVA's Director of Finance and Administration, Jennifer Harkness competed for Canada in the inaugural Pan American Games beach volleyball tournament in 1999. 

The best placement for any Canadian team at the Pan American Games in beach volleyball comes from Jody Holden and Conrad Leinemann who won the gold medal for the men in 1999 on home sand.