Canada reaches semifinals and claims NORCECA Olympic qualifier spot


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, October 11, 2019.- Canada 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 Rico.

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”.