Edmonton, Canada, July 20, 2019 - Four months after losing an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal match to Nicole Laird and Becchara Palmer on their home sand in Australia, Americans Emily Day and Betsi Flint avenged the setback with a two-set semifinal win here Saturday evening at the $150,000 Edmonton Open.
Seeded second in the competition, Day and Flint posted a 2-0 (21-15, 21-12) victory in 30 minutes over the 11th-seeded Laird and Palmer for their second triumph Saturday after a 2-0 (21-11, 21-11) quarterfinal triumph in 30 minutes over 12th-seeded Alexia Richard/Lezana Placette of France.
Emily Day (left) and Betsi Flint of the United States
On March 10 in Sydney on Manly Beach, Laird and Palmer netted an FIVB World Tour gold medal by posting a 2-1 (21-19, 16-21, 15-13) win in 49 minutes over Day and Flint.
“It feels great, we talked a little bit about a payback,” said the 26-year old Flint after the match. “But we were playing in the moment, playing in the present and it was fun that this time the result went our way.”
When asked about advancing to a World Tour finale after losing in country quota playoffs in their previous three FIVB appearances, Flint said “we love playing in tournaments and it was really frustrating to lose on country-quotas, but there are several top teams in the world doing it. We’re super happy that we got to play the entire week here and are looking forward to the final.”
The 31-year-old Day said her team is “feeling good. We played great teams along the way and we fought through some ups and downs, so I think it prepared us well for the final.”
With their two wins, Day and Flint now meet top-seeded and recently-crowned FIVB world champions Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada for the women's gold medal Sunday afternoon on the Northlands Park center court.
“Sarah and Melissa are the world champions and we train against them a lot in Los Angeles,” Day said about playing Humana-Paredes and Pavan Sunday in the Edmonton finale. “They’re our friends but tomorrow we’ll be our competitors and we’re really looking forward to play a good match.”
Sunday’s match will be the second FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams as Humana-Paredes and Pavan defeated Day and Flint last October in Las Vegas where the Canadians placed second and the Americans fifth.
Day and Flint, who are playing in their 17th FIVB World Tour event together, will be seeking their second international beach volleyball gold medal together after notching their first almost a year ago when the pair topped the podium on July 22, 2018 in Haiyang, China.
Humana-Paredes and Pavan advanced to the Edmonton gold medal match by posting their wins Saturday over 25th-seeded qualifiers Monika Brzostek/Aleksandra Gromadowska of Poland 2-0 (21-13, 21-9) in 27 minutes and 13th-seeded Akiko Hasegawa/Azusa Futami of Japan 2-0 (21-16, 22-20) in 38 minutes.
The Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes (left) and Sarah Pavan (second from right) with Japan's Akiko Hasegawa (second from left) and Azusa Futami
The Edmonton Open concludes Sunday with the men’s and women’s medal match where the winning teams net the $10,000 first-place prizes along with collecting 600 Olympic qualifying points for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.