York University Lions women’s volleyball player Melissa Humana-Paredes and her partner, Taylor Pischke, won the bronze medal at the inaugural under-23 world beach volleyball championships in Myslowice, Poland, on Sunday.
The Canadian duo won a hard-fought bronze-medal match over the Czech tandem of Eliska Galova and Adela Machova, coming back from a set down to take the contest by a final score of 19-21, 21-15 and 16-14.
York University Lions women’s volleyball player Melissa Humana-Paredes (left) and her partner Taylor Pischke, won bronze Sunday
In the third set, Pischke and Humana-Paredes appeared to be on their way to winning comfortably, but the Czechs called a time out when they were down 11-7 and mounted a comeback.
The Canadians rediscovered their rhythm, however, and after letting one match point slip, won the bronze medals on their second when Pischke hit a winning spike.
“It was a really, really good game and they played really, really well and we played really, really well, and it came down to withstanding the pressure and the heat,” Humana-Paredes said. “The first didn’t go our way, but we came back strong.”
They ended up in the third-place match after a narrow defeat in the semifinals in what ended up being the game of the tournament. Facing the Brazilian team of Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Thais Rodrigues Ferreira, the Canadians lost the first set 21-18 but came back to take the second 21-15. In the deciding third set, both pairs traded points back and forth well past the 15-point mark, with the Brazilians eventually winning 23-21.
Overall, Humana-Paredes and Pischke went 5-1 at the championships. After recording a pair of victories in round-robin pool play to earn a first round bye, the pair defeated Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte of Lithuania 21-12 in the first round and 21-17 in the second round. They then defeated Christine Aulenbrock and Cinja Tillmann of Germany 21-15 and 21-10 in the quarter finals.
Humana-Paredes has spent the past three seasons with the Lions and has cemented herself as one of the top outside hitters in Ontario University Athletics. She is a two-time first-team all-star and earned Canadian Interuniversity Sport second-team all-Canadian honours in 2012 en route to being named York’s female athlete of the year.
She and Pischke, a member of the University of Manitoba Bisons, will also represent Canada at the 27th International University Sports Federation Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia, in early July.