HALIFAX - The Canada Cup is staying put in the true north.
© Metro Halifax photo
Sam Pedlow (yellow) knocks the ball over the net as opponent Josh Binstock (red) gets ready to block during the men's final of the SandJam beach volleyball event Sunday on the Halifax waterfront.
Team Canada won both the men and women’s finals on the last day of SandJam Halifax, the four-day beach volleyball tournament on the waterfront.
“I think this was a fantastic event,” said Sarah Pavan of Team Canada. “It was so much fun to be able to play in Canada against international teams.”
Pavan and her teammate Heather Bansley defeated Sara Hughes and Caitlin Ledoux of the United States 21-13 and 21-16 in straight sets.
“It feels great,” said Pavan of the win. “We had a really, really close one with them yesterday. I was glad we were able to make adjustments, pick up on their tendencies… so it was nice to see that turnaround.”
The men’s final came down to two Canadian teams – Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter against Grant O’Gorman and Samuel Pedlow. Pedlow and Grant O’Gorman ended up winning in three sets.
Close to 1,000 people showed up on the sunny Sunday afternoon to watch the finals.
“I think it’s exciting volleyball,” said fan Keith Matheson of Clayton Park. “It’s great to watch, it’s fun, a great venue, perfect weather.”
This year’s SandJam was the first to invite professional volleyball players to compete in the tournament. Derek Martin, president of Sports and Entertainment Atlantic, says adding the pros brought a new dimension to the event.
“We’ve seen teams out here that are going to be competing in the Olympics in 2016,” he said. “It’s exciting to see the best beach volleyball players in the world right here in Halifax.”
Martin says the reception to the pros has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Everyone’s saying they can really notice the difference,” he said. The athletes are so much bigger, so much stronger, so much faster, and it’s been impressive to watch it.”
Canada’s presence in the finals capped off a successful week and energized fans says Martin. He estimated the four-day event drew about 7,500 people
“It’s great to have Canada teams in the final,” he said. “Fans always get behind the home country.”