Canada reaches semifinals and claims NORCECA Olympic
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, October 11,
reached semifinals and claimed a spot to the NORCECA Olympic
qualifier defeating Mexico 3-1 (25-20, 29-31, 25-17, 25-20)
at the NORCECA Continental Championship in San Juan, Puerto
Canada will battle United States in semifinals and Mexico
will play for position matches against Costa Rica.
Canada advanced to semifinals in a thrilling quarterfinal
win playing the longest set of the tournament (31-29) won by
Mexico. Canada and Mexico extended the second set to a nail
bite finish as Mexico lost six set-points and the Canadian
team never reached a set point.
Canada overcame Mexico with huge margins in blocks (11-5)
and aces (10-4); they also held advantage in attacks (59-53)
and committed fewer errors (24-26).
Kiera Van Ryk scored a tournament-high so far of 28 points
in Canada’s victory, which included 7 aces, while Alexa Gray
added 24 points on 21 kills, 2 blocks and one ace and Emily
Maglio collected 11 points. Mexico’s Andrea Rangel led with
25 points on 23 kills and 2 blocks; joined by Samantha
Bricio who completed all four sets, scored 12 points and
Karina Flores chipped in with 10 points.
Kiera Van Ryk, leading scorer of Canada: “I’m excited,
definitely a first goal, making sure to be in January’s
event and I am proud of our performance. We’ve been working
on being hard to score on, good touches and good scrambles
to finish off long rallies. Our offense spread out more than
it usually is and I think that giving me a little bit more
load opened it up for our middles and let Alexa swing away
in her game as well. It will be a good game facing United
States, personally I haven’t played against their A team and
for sure it will be a tough battle”.
Benjamin Josephson, Head Coach of Canada: “It was
challenging, besides our defense, our transition picked up
too; once we started digging the ball and making some blocks
we had some more opportunities, we had really good tempo,
our left outside hitters were really good in transitional.
Our setters did a good job keeping the speed up. Mexico
defended really well, it was really hard to score, both
teams were going back and forth. Our big hitters had a few
more spikes and it looks like number 2 (Bricio) is a little
banged up, with a shoulder injury. Step one, being in the
Olympic qualifier and step two is seeing how far we can go;
it will be our first time playing the U.S. this summer”.
Gabriela Alarcon, Head Coach of Mexico: “What made the
difference is that Canada is more solid as a team, they have
better rhythm as a team and we are still depending on
individualities. When they played with the fast ball, frond
and back, making plays as a team they defined; and our
attacks were predictable, helping their defense”.