Warsaw, Poland, July 1, 2018 – Fourth-seeded Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson triumphed with the gold medals at the Warsaw four-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. It was the third (consecutive) podium for the Canadian pair after bronze at Itapema and silver at Ostrava. Experienced Bansley has four silver and four bronze medals to her name, but this is the first gold and she won it right on Wilkerson’s 26th birthday.
Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude, seeded 10th, settled for silver, their third on the World Tour as a team. They also have two gold and three bronze medals.
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The women’s bronze went to sixth-seeded Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa – Duda. This improves their World Tour medal record to two gold, two silver and three bronze.
The women’s podium at Warsaw
The two sets of the final match were very similar – quite competitive in the first half, with almost error-free Bansley and Wilkerson gradually breaking away in the second half to close the set at the same final score. In the first set, Bansley elegantly tipped the ball to score the last point, but in the second she hammered one not-so-elegant power shot off the opponents’ block to close the match at 2-0 (21-17, 21-17).
“It feels great! It’s so exciting! I am still processing,” Heather Bansley exclaimed after the final. “It was a battle. We expected a tough match. It went back and forth for a little while, but I am proud of the way we kept our heads down, we kept pushing, working hard and fighting all the way to the end.”
“Of course, we are disappointed. We didn’t play our best. In the end we lost a little bit of power in attack,” Julia Sude commented. “The Canadians played a very good game, with only two mistakes that I remember. They had a very stable side-out, so they won.”
USA’s Brittany Hochevar and Kelly Claes put on quite a fight in the bronze medal match, but Agatha and Duda managed to maintain control, building nicely to a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) win.
“We love to play here. It’s always very special in Poland. Last year we won third place here and now we are in third place again, so we are very happy,” Agatha said after the game. “We did well mentally and played strong physically in the last game against the American girls. They are a nice team and a new team, so we studied them well. So I am very proud now.”