Bukovec/Bansley and MacNeil/Russell claim Beach Ontario Champion titles on first weekend
Toronto, Ont. (Aug. 11, 2023) – As the day went on, spectators flocked to the feature court right beside the boardwalk at Ashbridges Bay to catch the excitement of the adult men’s and women’s divisions competing for the top prize at the 2023 OVA Beach Ontario Championships. The crowd was in for something special when the National Team pairing of Sophie Bukovec and Heather Bansley took on Dana Roskic and Kaylee Glagau for the women’s title and the men’s National Team duo of Jake MacNeil and Alex Russell faced Robert Kemp and Max Losier.
In the end, Bukovec and Bansley beat Roskic and Glagau in two sets and MacNeil/Russell overcame their opponents in three. Each top-winning team claimed the title of Beach Ontario Champion and took home a four thousand dollar cheque.
Bukovec and Bansley is a fresh partnership, having played their first event together at the Edmonton Challenge (Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour) in late July resulting in a top ten finish and then at the Montreal Elite16 just four days later where they came up just a little short in making it out of qualification to the main draw. Bansley, the two-time Olympian, effectively came our of retirement with the recent formation and Bukovec had a fantastic run with Brandie Wilkerson in 2022, highlighted by a silver medal at the World Championships in Rome.
Despite not having the same amount of combined experience on the touring circuit, Roskic and Glagau proved they could go toe-to-toe with two nationally celebrated athletes. Both have been successful in their collegiate endeavours – Roskic a standout at North Florida University and then Grand Canyon University and Glagau also a star at the University of Hawaii. Their respective teams have been no strangers to the NCAA beach volleyball playoff scene. The two were recently named to Volleyball Canada’s Beach Summer Team where they met the criteria to be eligible for four months of Sport Canada carding, as part of the summer beach development program. In fact, many of the athletes competing in the adult division at the 2023 Beach OCs were named on the list. They include:
Emma Braticevic, Akash Grewal, Sophia Hladyniuk, Mikayla Law-Heese, Jaime Santer, Josie Sek and Ruby Sorra.
Steven Abrams, Cameron Chadwick, Julian Jouan, Ben Kerkhoff, Coltyn Liu, Markus Law-Heese, Martin Licht, Max Losier, Yaroslav Svidritskiy, Jacob van Geel and Zach van Geel.
Taking the bronze were last year’s gold medalists, the duo of Ruby Sorra and Mikayla Law-Heese who defeated seasoned National athlete Shanice Marcelle and partner Grewal. Law-Heese had been competing with the University of Alabama-Birmingham beach volleyball team and Sorra will be attending Stanford University in 2024.
Having just come shy of the gold at the 2022 Beach OCs, MacNeil and Russell were able to get the job done this time around in a tight three set battle against Kemp and Losier. The champions were too at the Edmonton Challenge but were stopped in the qualification phase.
Kemp and Losier improved from their bronze at the previous championships but the gold is still elusive. In 2022, Kemp placed first at the inaugural Volleyball Canada University/College Beach National Championship with Queens University teammate Brendan Davies. Off the sand, Losier has been a vital piece of the Laval University lineup and has earned RSEQ First Team All Star honours among multiple Athlete of the Week nods.
For the bronze, Steven Abrams (2022 Canada Summer Games gold medalist) and Martin Licht picked up the hardware by beating Josh Binstock and Andrew Hinchey. Binstock won gold in 2022 with partner Ivan Reka.
The first weekend of the 2023 Beach OCs saw 275 teams entered with 75 courts being used along Ashbridges Bay, the sand being adorned by rows of umbrellas and coverings where athletes and parents warded off the sun albeit for brief moments.
The second weekend will feature the Youth Open (20U), 17U, 15U and 13U divisions with the 13UB being a one-day tournament on Saturday, August 12. Rankings for these divisions are available to view on our results page.
If you’re attending, Oakley will be setting up a booth to demonstrate their eyewear and giving out some swag. They will also be holding a contest where you can enter to win one of their $100 gift cards and a custom pair of eyewear. Canuckstuff will also be onsite selling Ontario volleyball apparel.
Images from the 2023 Beach Ontario Championships will be uploaded here.
Weekend 1 Medalists
Adult Women’s Division
Adult Men’s Division
16UG Premier – Tier 1
16UG Premier – Tier 2
16UG Championship – Tier 1
16UG Championship – Tier 2
- S.Rowland/A.Munoz Sevillano
16UB Premier – Tier 1
16UB Premier – Tier 2
14UG Premier – Tier 1
14UG Premier – Tier 2
14UG Championship – Tier 1
14UG Championship – Tier 2
14UG Challenger – Tier 1
14UG Challenger – Tier 2
14UB Premier – Tier 1
14UB Premier – Tier 2
Dylan Brennand | Coordinator, Digital Media | 416-889-8079 | email@example.com