Las Vegas, USA, October 17, 2018 – Rio 2016 Olympian Kristina May was away from the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour for the last 15 months and even though her return to the courts did not go as she planned, the Canadian had plenty to be happy about as the women’s main draw started at the World Tour Las Vegas Open presented by p1440 on Thursday.
The 31-year-old blocker was sidelined due to the birth of her first son, the six-month old Maxwell, and she was granted a wild card that sent her and partner Taylor Pischke directly into the main draw in the American resort city.
The team, which had played together in just five events last year before May found out she was pregnant, had a rough start, facing fellow Canadians Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson. Despite Maxwell’s presence in the sidelines, Bansley and Wilkerson did not slow down and claimed a 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) victory over the returning May and Pischke.
“I loved it, even though we lost,” a smiley May commented. “It was thrilling to be back on the court after being out for so long. Having a baby on the sideline was a surreal experience. I didn’t have any trouble focusing, mentally it didn’t seem I had taken so much time off. Physically I’m working on getting better - where I was.”
May’s excitement was obvious for anyone watching the match in Las Vegas. Even though their opponents did not give her team much of a chance, the veteran was enjoying every moment in the court.
“Every point that I earned felt twice as good before,” she added. “This was the very first step back. We keep giving one step at a time and the next is to regroup and try to win our next match to move forward in the tournament.”
If getting herself back into competition was just the first step, May hopes that the last one is qualifying to the Tokyo 2020 Games, which would be her second Olympic experience. With Canada currently having two of the best teams in the planet in Bansley/Wilkerson and Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes, May understands how hard the task in hand will be.
But, at the same time, her experience helps her to keep the plan going.
“No question it’s just going to get harder and harder,” she acknowledged. “I know it, I’ve been there before. I know what to expect and it’s just a matter of executing the game plan when you have a chance.”
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