Fort Lauderdale, Fla., October 4, 2015 - In a confrontation between two of the top three-ranked teams on the international Beach Volleyball circuit, Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil posted a two-set win over Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan of Canada here Sunday to capture the bronze medal at the US$500,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals.With their 2-1 (22-20, 14-21, 15-10) win in 58 minutes over the Canadians, Agatha and Barbara split the $30,000 third-place prize with Bansley and Pavan splitting $15,000 for the non-points event featuring the top eight teams on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour as of September 6 along with two “wild card” entries.It was the third-straight win by Agatha and Barbara over the Canadians on the FIVB World Tour with Bansley and Pavan’s only win being in a 2014 Brazilian Grand Slam in Sao Paulo last September. The two teams met for a FIVB gold medal earlier this season in the Czech Republic with Agatha and Barbara winning the Prague title.With Brazil guaranteed a spot on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals podium with Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca playing in the gold medal match against Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, Agatha and Barbara have now medaled 12 times in 33 FIVB World Tour starts as the Brazilians capped their third international season together.Finishing the 2015 season as the FIVB World Tour champions, Agatha and Barbara captured three of their four international gold medals this season highlighted by claiming the FIVB World Championship trophy July 4 in The Hague, The Netherlands.The third-ranked team on the 2015 FIVB World Tour, Bansley and Pavan posted the best-ever results for a Canadian women’s team on the international circuit. In 12 FIVB starts this season, Bansley and Pavan collected two silver medals, four podium placements and eight quarter-final appearances with more than $200,000 in earnings.With the FIVB sanctioning women’s Beach Volleyball events for the first-time in 1992, the 2015 season produced Canada’s first-ever podium finishes. In addition to Bansley and Pavan’s efforts, Canadians Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas claimed the North American country’s first-ever gold medal by winning the world tour season-opening event in Fuzhou, China.Broder and Valjas also competed in the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals this week and placed ninth after entering the competition as the sixth-ranked team in the international circuit. In addition to the China gold, Broder and Valjas placed third in a Swiss Open in Lucerne and fourth at the SWATCH Major stop in Porec, Croatia.Agatha
“Win we win, the fans are nice, but even when when we lose, fans have happy and picking up our spirit.“We started well in the first set. The second set was hard. We were not on our game, and we didn’t play together well. But then we regrouped and concentrated in the third set, and that was the difference.”“This is special. It is the FIVB World Tour Finals, so it will be nice to be on the podium with a medal." Barbara“We always want to fight for gold, but we have to appreciate this bronze medal. It is been a long year, so we are happy with a medal.”“They are a tough team, with a tall blocker and a small defender who moves really well.”“This was a fun tournament. The fans have been so supportive, and there were a lot of Brazilian fans.”Sarah Pavan“We made a push at the end, but unfortunately it was not enough.”“We were pretty dominant in the second set, but obviously not i the third. It’s unfortunate.”“This was the last tournament of the season, so we wanted to end with a win. So this is rough.”“We are focused on now, but when we step back, we will realize that nobody expected us to jump this big this soon. We made a big step, and this is only the start. Next season we expect even more."Heather Bansley“Looking back, we achieved a lot of the goals we set out to accomplish.”“The tournament was great, from the volunteers to the organizers to the fans. We really enjoyed playing in Fort Lauderdale. It was rewarding after a long season.”“Every match is a learning experience, especially against this level of competition. We take something away from this and hopefully play better next time."