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Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson (2010-14) were teammates for four years inside Tait McKenzie Centre, helping guide the York University Lions to three playoff appearances, including an OUA silver medal in 2013. Now, the pair of two dynamic outside hitters have taken their talents to the beach in pursuit of glory

The Lions volleyball alumnae teamed up to take the women’s gold at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 tournament which ran from July 25-30 in Montreal. 

The duo dropped their opener in straight sets to Katja Stam and Raïsa Schoon of the Netherlands, 17-21, 20-22, but rebounded from there, winning their final six matches en route to gold. They downed Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar of Australia in straight sets, 21-18, 21-19, to even their record at 1-1, before pulling out another straight sets win, 21-13, 21-15, over Esmée Bobner and Zoe Verge-Despre of Switzerland, to wrap up pool play.

In the Round of 12, Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson knocked off Americans Kelly Cheng and Sarah Hughes in a three-set thriller, winning 21-19, 19-21, 17-15, to advance to the quarters. There, they dispatched another American pair, sisters Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth, 21-15, 14-21, 15-8 to move onto the semis and guarantee themselves at least a medal.

In the semi-finals, they defeated Chen Xue and Xinya Xia of China in another tightly-contested three-setter. Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson won the opening set 21-19, before dropping the middle set 21-17. That set up a decisive third, where the former Lions came out on top 15-11 to punch their ticket to the gold medal match. There, it was another American twosome in their way, this time Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles. In similar fashion to their previous matches, the Canadians had to earn it. The teams split the first two sets (21-15, 16-21) to force a winner-take-all third set, and it was the former Lions all-stars who came out on top by the slimmest of margins, 15-13, to earn gold in their first tournament on home sand as partners.

The two American teams beaten by Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson came in ranked second and third in the world, respectively, prompting Humana-Paredes to call the gold medal “the ultimate Cinderella story.”

“??Honestly, coming into this week, I don’t think we anticipated this,” Humana-Paredes continued to the Canadian Press. “We always aim to win, but to have this happen on home soil, it’s a dream come true. The crowd gave us all of the energy we needed, even when we were down, even when we weren’t feeling it. We did this for them.”

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