Elite16 - Montréal, CAN - 2023 - Beach Pro Tour 2023 season - News

Melissa/Brandie (CAN) vs. Xue/X. Y. Xia (CHN) - Semifinals #6136734

Fourth-seeded Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes & Brandie Wilkerson delighted the home crowd in Montreal with Elite16 gold as the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour visited Canada again. It was Melissa & Brandie’s second gold on the Tour as a pair, after they topped the podium at the Jurmala Challenge in June, and third overall medal, after they also claimed the bronze at the Ostrava Elite16, also in June.

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The silver medals went to American qualifiers Betsi Flint & Julia Scoles, who started the tournament as the sixth seed in the qualification bracket, moved on to take the 14th seed in the main draw line-up and made it all the way to the final. They celebrated their second Beach Pro Tour podium together, after taking another silver at their team’s debut at the Torquay Elite16 in December.

10th-seeded Xue Chen & Xia Xinyi of China picked up the bronze. It was the pair’s second Beach Pro Tour podium, after they snatched the gold upon reuniting for the Itapema Challenge in the spring of 2023.

BPT Elite 16 Montreal - Awarding Ceremony_08

The Montreal Elite16 medallists

A three-set battle unfolded in the women’s final on Sunday with Melissa & Brandie, mastering a victory, cheered on by the fantastic Canadian fans on the stands. In the first set, they broke away with a 4-0 run and never looked back. In the second, however, Scoles & Flint bounced back convincingly to draw level and push the match to a tie-breaker resolution. In the third set, the lead went back and forth until Brandie’s monster block closed the match Canada’s way. The match winner was one of Brandie’s five kill blocks in the game. She also added an ace and 21 successful attacks towards a match-high 27 points, while Melissa produced 17 points, all in offence. Scoles & Flint registered 21 and 19 points, respectively.

“Oh, my gosh, this one will be in my memories forever. This is our first Elite16 gold together as a team, in front of a Canadian crowd with this much energy, this much love... This was the first time my family got to watch me play live, so there were a lot of firsts here; you couldn’t have written it up any better,” said Brandie after the end of the final. “It was a tough win. We had to battle in every single moment and it was beautiful! People are here at the Elite16 for a reason. It’s a gold medal match for a reason. It’s never going to be easy, but we stepped up and we proved ourselves.”

“We are proud of our performance. We played nine matches. Julia is just so resilient. It’s so fun to play next to her,” said USA’s Betsi Flint. “It was a battle all weekend and we are excited to be coming home with a silver medal.”

“I think the take-it-one-at-a-time mentality, knowing the every game could be our last, helped us go out there and have fun, to play the sport that we love and know that it’s a blessing and an opportunity. We had to give it our best. The outcome is the outcome, but we are grateful for how we played and getting the silver,” Julia Scoles added.

The third-place match offered a tight three-set battle between Xue & Xia and Netherlands’ Katja Stam & Raisa Schoon, seeded 12th in the main draw bracket. The Chinese were well in control of the first set, but the Dutch fought back to win the rollercoaster second set in the overtime. The Asians survived an early opponent lead in the tie-breaker to regain control and close the match their way, . Xia hammered the match high of 28 points, including two aces, topping even Stam’s tally of 27 points. Xue also finished with 20+. Her tally included four aces, four kill blocks and 13 successful spikes.

“We gave our 100% performance in the two matches we played today,” Xue said. “In the morning, we lost in three sets, but we knew we had another fight ahead of us and we really wanted to be on the podium. There was only a short time between the matches and we just forgot about our mistakes in the morning and focused on ourselves. We did our job right and we won.”

Xue & Xia played a three-set semifinal as well. Home favourites Melissa & Brandie managed a victory to advance to the gold-medal match. The Canadians overcame Xue’s blocking that produced six points with more efficient offence. Melissa hammered out 22 points in attack and Brandie chipped in another 13, to which she added four aces and two kill blocks for a 19-point tally. Xue finished with 20 points, also including two aces.

In the other semifinal, Scoles & Flint defeated Stam & Schoon in straight sets, , with Scoles leading the way with 24 points. Her match record included three stuffs and two aces. Flint added another 10 points, all in attack, while Stam was the Dutch duo’s leading scorer with 18 points (two aces, on block).