2017 Beach Volleyball World Tour Season in Review

“Time flies when you’re having fun” 😉

 

Wow. It feels like just yesterday that I was writing about the first tournament Melissa and I played together in Rio. Back then I thought that I would actually have time to do weekly blog posts (haha silly me), but it seems like I just blinked my eyes and the season was over. Where did the summer go?! Where did the beach volleyball season go?! I apologize for disappearing for a few months, but I feel like this will be a yearly occurrence. Between travelling, training, competing, etc. there is just too much going on during the summer months, so please bear with me 🙂
 

Now that I am back in indoor season I have a little time to breathe again, and I really wanted to reflect on the summer before closing the 2017 chapter and looking to the future. We had a great season, and I definitely think it’s worth talking about!
 

Going into our first season together, Mel and I had the goal of being a Top 10 team in the World Ranking. We were a brand new team and knew that we would need some time to get used to each other, and develop our team’s system and trust and communication, among other things. The big goal of every tournament was to win, as it always is, but we wanted to be realistic and give ourselves room to grow and improve leading up to the Olympics.
 

Fast forward to September, and we completely shattered all of the goals and benchmarks we set for ourselves 🙂 By the end of the season, we were sitting at #2 in the World Ranking, and we reached the semifinals in 7 of the 8 tournaments we played together. These results were so exciting, and incredibly encouraging for what we are looking to do in the coming years with the Olympics, etc. There were several times during the season that we looked at each other and said, “Can you believe this?” Mel and I knew that we had the potential to be one of the top teams in the world, but neither of us thought that things would come together for us so quickly.
 

The medal winners from the Gstaad Major Series 5-Star event

 

While the results and rankings provide us with confidence and validation for the decision we made to play together, probably the most exciting part of everything that happened this summer is that we both know that we still have SO MUCH to improve on. Melissa and I know that there is a lot of room for growth on our team, both technically and tactically, and we are hungry to keep improving. It is fun to go to practice every single day with the objective of being the best, and getting better step by step. Heading into the 2018 season, we will have to set new and improved goals for our team, and I can’t wait!
 

Here is a look at our results from the 2017 World Tour:

Location

Type Result 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 4-Star 2nd
Moscow, Russia 3-Star 9th
The Hague, Netherlands 3-Star 4th
Porec, Croatia 5-Star 1st
Gstaad, Switzerland 5-Star 3rd
Olsztyn, Poland 4-Star 2nd
Vienna, Austria World Championships 4th
Hamburg, Germany World Tour Final 4th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back on the summer, there were so many amazing moments, and a ton of great memories made. The highlight of the summer for me by far, though, was winning the gold medal at the Porec Major Series 5-Star event.
 

Every time I step on the court, my goal is to win, and I play beach volleyball to win tournaments. Up to that point, though, neither Mel or I had ever won a World Tour gold medal, so it was extremely special to have finally broken that barrier to stand on top of the podium. Something that made that moment even more incredible was that we won the tournament on July 1…. Canada Day! It was the perfect sequence of events, and we were ecstatic to have won our first individual gold medals, as well as Canada’s first Major Series gold medal on the anniversary of our country’s independence.
 

It’s funny….. before a moment like that you think you have it all figured out and how great it is to win, and how you will react, etc. Absolutely nothing can ever prepare you for the actual thing, though, and even after playing high-level sport for so many years, the emotions I felt after the final point were so raw and pure and vulnerable that it felt like the first time I had ever won anything. That is what I love about sport. I love pouring my heart and soul into every single point, set, and match, and fighting like hell for those feelings when it’s all over and I’m on the winning side. It’s indescribable, and I’m so happy that I got to experience my first beach volleyball moment like that with Mel.

 

Pure joy on top of the podium in Porec 🙂

 

Our path through the 2017 World Tour had a definite upward slope, and even though there were little dips along the way, we were always heading in the right direction. I think we both agree that this year was a huge success- no, we didn’t win every tournament we played, and we lost some matches that we should have won- but overall, this was a fantastic way to start our partnership. To cap it all off, Mel won the 2017 FIVB Most Improved Player award, and I was the Best Blocker. These were both great surprises to end our whirlwind season.

 

As always, thank you to everyone who followed, watched, cheered, wrote messages, and sent love our way throughout the season. We wouldn’t be where we are without all of your support, and we appreciate you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you so much, and we are ready to tackle the 2018 season with you soon!

 

xo, Sarah

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