Canada grabs the last spot to the NORCECA Olympic Qualifier



MORELIA, Mexico, September 30, 2015.- Canada beat Mexico 3-2 (22-25, 25-15, 25-17, 21-25, 15-8) to grab the last spot available for the NORCECA Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament to be held in January.

In front of more than 3,000 spectators at Bicentenario Auditorium, Canada fought hard for the dramatic five set win that puts them in the semifinals of the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship against Dominican Republic.

Mexico jumped to an early lead 11-9 with powerful kills, while Canada remained calm and started to counterattack with their tall blockers. Canada never gave up and Mexico’s fans always supported the home team; it took Mexico two set points to finish on top 25-22. Canada took the lead in set two 7-5 as Mexico engaged in receiving errors.

Canada continued strong in blocking and attacking well. Mexico forced longer rallies while performing well in defense while Canada kept a comfortable lead 14-7, it seemed like Mexico ran out of energy. Canada won set two 25-15. Canada’s blocking was difficult to overcome; Mexico struggled to catch up while Canada led 12-8 in the third set and overpowered in kills to finish 25-17.

Mexico´s inspiration returned while spiking aggressively and defending better to lead 13-8 in the fourth set. Canada’s errors kept Mexico’s advantage up to the end 25-21. Canada took control of the actions for a five point lead and sealed their way into semis 15-8.

With a 16-3 margin in blocking, Canada dominated Mexico’s advantage in kills 54-48. Canada scored on 40 Mexican errors.

Canada’s top scorer was Outside Hitter Dana Cranston with 16 points, joined by Outside Hitter Kyla Richey and Middle Blocker Jaimie Thilbeault with 15 points apiece. Mexican Outside Hitter Andrea Rangel led all scorers with 23 points, followed by Opposite Dulce Carranza with 18 points and Outside Hitter Lizbeth Sainz with 10 points.

Captain Brittney Page of Canada said “Mexico played outstanding, they never gave up and defended very well, this is the best Mexico team I’ve seen in years.  We focused on powering hard on our spikes to score and our passing worked out well”.

Coach Arne Ludwig of Canada said “players always want to perform in front of a loud crowd; it’s wonderful to see the spectators supporting their team. In the beginning the players tried to avoid errors and the match was really close, when our blocking performed better up to the half of the second set, the balance went more in our favor. Our opposite, Pavan performed very well. Our goal was to be in the Pre-Olympic tournament”.

“We are not happy, it’s hurtful” said Dulce Carranza. “We proved that we are a competitive team despite the lack of international experience like other teams’ here. The fans at Morelia were great and we are thankful for their support. This motivates us to practice harder because we have definitely improved”.

Coach Jorge Azair said “we are really grateful for Michoacan’s involvement in every one of our matches. I am very proud of my team, we were really close in reaching our objective, their hard work shows but we are facing teams with better height than us and it’s difficult to execute well; we must work and work. The girls know what they are capable of and I encourage them to continue with this project”.