(Toronto, ON, Canada) – On a very hot Saturday afternoon, Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter, both of Richmond Hill, came out to a thunderous applause as thousands filled the stands at Chevrolet Beach Volleyball Centre — a wonderfully constructed temporary home for beach volleyball. With expectations high, the Canadian contingent fell just short in a hotly-contested two-set match with Mexico, losing 21-19, 26-24.
Canadian Men Fall Short in Pan Am Games Beach Volleyball
With the crowd into it from the first serve, Canada was on the attack early, opening up a modest three-point advantage. The Mexican side answered back but it was the Canadians who looked the sharper of the two through much of the first half of the opening set. Just as the two were headed into the break at the halfway point, Mexico took their first lead, 11-10.
After a short break in play, Canada looked to regain control, but it was the Mexicans who instead opened up a three-point cushion 16-13. After trading points, Mexico closed out the first set 21-19.
The second set started much like the first with Canada starting on the offence. By the mid-way point they looked to be in control with a 12-9 lead heading into break. It seemed there was a shift in strategy between first set and second, one that was paying dividends early. When asked about adjustments made between sets, Schachter noted:
“We came out banging and hitting and trying to challenge the block a little more and I think they adjusted well so we had to re-adjust and stay ahead of them. I think we did that pretty well. We didn’t side-out poorly by any means, we just didn’t generate the steals that we needed to keep up with them at the end.”
With the score at 19-17, Schachter had a beautiful dig to set up Canada’s first set point. It looked like the match was headed for a third set on a nice block from Bistock at the net, but the ball landed inches out of play, giving the Mexicans another shot. Trading breaks, each side with several chances to close out the set, the Mexicans broke then held serves, ending the match 26-24.
When asked about the ending of the match, Schachter commented:
“We are extremely disappointed. We expected to medal here for sure. I think everyone expected that of us too so it’s very disappointing to lose at home, especially in front of a crowd like this. We both tried our hardest and left it all on the court. We enjoyed the moment. A win would have made this entire experience much more enjoyable, but we learned our lesson and I think we can take our loss and learn from it and it might be more important that we lose here and then win in the Olympics.”
While expectations were sky-high for the pair, and a sense of falling short is inevitable, the Olympics is just around the corner for the world’s tenth ranked team. This is certainly not the end.
Photo Credit: Kevin Gamble, LastWordOnSports.com