Update: Women’s beach heats up with Canada in semifinals

Canada’s youthful women’s representatives for beach volleyball have their biggest match to date on Sunday at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.

A pair of 22-year-olds on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke are in the semifinals of TO2015 to take on Cuba, Sunday at 3 p.m. ET (check CBC for TV & stream schedule).

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Melissa Humana-Paredes (front) and Taylor Pischke (back) of Canada in the FIVB World Tour (Photo: FIVB).

Melissa Humana-Paredes (front) and Taylor Pischke (back) of Canada in the FIVB World Tour (Photo: FIVB).

It was more of an express route than a road to the semifinals for the Canadian women. They enjoyed a perfect group stage (more on this under « preliminary round » below) and then beat Costa Rica’s Nathalia Alfaro and Karen Cope 2-0 (21-12, 21-12) in the quarterfinals. A win on Sunday will set up a Tuesday final.

The news wasn’t so good for Canadian men’s team of Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter. Playing in front of a packed crowd at the temporary beach volleyball stadium in the middle of Toronto’s Exhibition Place, Binstock and Schachter lost in two close sets to Mexico 21-19, 26-24. They’ll play for placing on Monday.

Preliminary Round

Team Canada men and women have delivered a combined 6-0 record and dropped only one set through the end of preliminaries, while keeping the venue rocking for what has been described as a “party” by many each night.

Women

On the women’s side, 22-year-olds Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke were a perfect 3-0 having won all six sets in those matches to close Group A. They’re now up against Costa Rica in an evening match on Saturday, July 18 in the quarterfinals.

Melissa Humana-Paredes (left) and Taylor Pischke at Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.

Melissa Humana-Paredes (left) and Taylor Pischke at Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.

The Costa Rica duo of Nathalia Alfaro and Karen Cope were second in Group B, before playing an elimination round match to earn a quarterfinal spot against Canada.

The other women’s quarterfinals matches feature USA-Argentina, Cuba-Colombia and Brazil-Uruguay. Like the Canadians, the USA, Cuba and Brazil head into the knockout stage with perfect round robin records.

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Men

Canada’s beach volleyball men – Olympian Josh Binstock and partner Sam Schachter – are coming off a World Tour ‘Major’ silver medal, and finished their preliminary round with a perfect winning record, dropping just one set in the process to Nicaragua. They’ll play in a Saturday afternoon quarterfinal against Mexico.

Sam Schachter goes up for a spike against Nicaragua at Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.

Sam Schachter goes up for a spike against Nicaragua at Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.

Mexico was second in men’s Group B to Brazil and had to beat Trinidad and Tobago in the elimination for a chance at the Canadians.

The other men’s quarterfinals matchups are Brazil-Uruguay, Chile-Argentina and Cuba-Puerto Rico. Chile and Cuba have yet to drop a set in men’s TO2015 beach volleyball.

The venue