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July 29, 2023: Today the Canadian duo of Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson proved they are among the best on the beach. The pair knocked off two of the top-three teams in the world, securing a spot in the semi-finals of the Pro Beach Tour Elite16 in Montreal, Quebec.
In their first match of the day, Melissa/Brandie faced second-ranked Hughes/Cheng of the United States. It was a good test, but the Canadians (ranked 26th) passed with flying colours, mounting an epic third-set comeback to upset the Americans and advance to the quarter finals. Final set scores: (21-19, 19-21, 17-15).
Melissa/Brandie, both of Toronto, Ont., were hoping to play spoiler in the quarters, too, facing another American foe, third-ranked Nuss/Kloth. And the Canadians came through. With the hometown fans getting rowdier and rowdier as the match went on, Melissa/Brandie seemed to get stronger, dispatching the Americans in three sets (21-15, 14-21, 15-8).
At the end of the day, Humana-Paredes reflected on competing against — and beating — a pair of elite-level teams. “This tournament has challenged us, every team is hard to play against,” she said. “We’re still getting our footing together, to continually produce these performances, but we definitely belong here — there’s no question in our mind.”
Next up, in Sunday’s semi-finals, Melissa/Brandie will do battle with Xue/X. Y. Xia of China, who also knocked off a few top-ranked teams en route to the medal round. That’s at 11:30 a.m. ET, just after the men’s semi-finals. 
Sarah Pavan and Molly McBain were in action on Saturday as well. Early in the day, in the round of 12, they matched up against Agatha/Rebecca of Brazil. The Canadians dropped the first set, 13-21, but clawed back in the second, pushing the Brazilians to extra points. In the end, however, Pavan/McBain didn’t have enough to overcome the Brazilian attack, losing out 24-26 and exiting the tournament. Match stats here.
Post-match, two-time Olympian Pavan gave credit to her partner. “I think Molly’s been put in a really, really challenging position. I can’t even imagine the pressure that she’s felt to step into this level of volleyball and compete against the best teams in the world. I think that she’s maintained her composure so well and she’s proven that she belongs here. I’m really proud of her.”
Pavan/McBain finished the tournament tied for ninth, one of their best results since teaming up earlier this year. 

The SMASH Festival is hosting this Elite 16 World Beach Pro Tour tournament at Parc Jean-Drapeau. This unique event combines sport, entertainment and fun! Action runs until Sunday.
This year, Canada hosts three Beach Pro Tour events – the just-completed Challenge event in Edmonton (July 20-23), this Elite 16 tournament in Montreal from July 26 to 30 and a Futures event in Halifax in September. 

Volleyball Canada Media Contact:
Jackie Skender
Mobile: 613-794-7676

Photo: Volleyball World