Tuesday, 23 April 2024
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International Volleyball

Sam Schachter, Dan Dearing, a new culture for Canada’s top team

Sam Schachter

HERMOSA BEACH, California — It only took 36 matches over the course of 12 tournaments, on a schedule that took them across three continents, for Sam Schachter and Dan Dearing to finally land it:

Their Big Win.

The one that announced that they had arrived. The one they’d been waiting for since March’s 2023 season-opener in La Paz, Mexico.

It wasn’t that they hadn’t had their chances over the course of that 2023 season. There were plenty. Went to three with Austria’s top pair, Mortiz Pristauz and Robin Seidl, in Itapema, Brazil, only to fall two points shy. A few hours later, they did the same with eventual Manhattan Beach Open champs Taylor Crabb and Taylor Sander. Later that summer, in Montreal, they’d push Olympic bronze medalists Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan to three, go into extra points in both sets with Brazil’s Pedro and Guto, and extend a second set with Germans and then-world No. 4 Nils Ehlers and Clemens Wickler to 20-22. At the World Championships in October, they’d claim the first set over Renato Lima and Vitor Felipe, only to drop that one, too, in three.

But finally, after a season underscored by a motif of one close call after the next, after knocking on the door of a dozen teams who had established themselves as elite on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour, Schachter and Dearing closed out a match. In the Dominican Republic, site of the NORCECA Continental Championships, Schachter and Dearing swept Miles Partain and Andy Benesh, the American duo who had medaled in three Elite16s and twice stunned Anders Mol and Christian Sorum en route to a gold in Gstaad, Switzerland. It was the biggest win of their partnership, the validating moment of which they had been so starved. They were understandably elated.

And then their coach, a Serbian by the name of Srdjan Veckov, “comes straight to the bench with a list of things we did wrong,” Schachter said on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter, shaking his head and laughing. “We’re like ‘Damn man!’ We respect it. He’s really, really good. He’s changed a lot of our team culture and attitude and work ethic.”

Schachter, a 33-year-old defender, made his debut as a professional in 2011. He’s qualified for an Olympic Games — 2016 with Josh Binstock — won six international medals and once dominated the erstwhile NVL Tour, winning four of the five events he played. He has, in other words,…

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