July 6, 2013, KAZAN, Russia (CIS) – The Canadian women’s water polo and men’s volleyball teams opened their tournament in winning fashion at the 27th Summer Universiade, on Saturday.
At the pool, the Canadian women edged Italy 11-10 on a last-minute goal by Kelly McKee of Calgary, who scored the game-winner with only 16 seconds remaining in regulation.
Canada’s opening win in men’s volleyball wasn’t quite as dramatic as the red and white made quick work of the United Arab Emirates and prevailed in straight sets (25-14, 25-16, 25-16).
In synchronized swimming, a discipline making its Universiade debut in Kazan, the Canadians are fourth and last after the technical part of the team competition. The event concludes Monday with the team free.
In the badminton team competition, Canada edged Brazil 3-2 in its first duel on the consolation side of the draw and will play for placement on Sunday.
In diving, Cody Yano of Edmonton finished the preliminary round of the one-metre springboard in 20th position with 299.70 points, which was not good enough to advance to the semifinals.
Looking for its first FISU medal since women’s water polo made its Universiade debut in 2009, Canada beat Italy thanks to a remarkable performance by driver Shae Fournier of Winnipeg, who scored no less than six goals, all in the second half.
McKee finished the contest with two markers and three assists, while Rebekkah Steenhamer of Ottawa, Gurheet Sohi of Delta, B.C. and Calgary product Shelby Taylor each tallied once.
Goaltender Jessica Gaudreault, an Ottawa native and Fournier’s teammate at Indiana University, made 19 saves for the victory.
“We wanted to focus on playing as a team… making sure we reacted to the defence they were playing,” said Fournier. “This is great momentum for us moving forward in the tournament.”
Canada will continue pool play against host Russia on Monday at 8 p.m. local time (noon ET).
On the volleyball court, the Canadian men were led in their opener by Nicholas Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que., who racked up a team-high eight kills, as well as middle blocker Braden McLean of Birch Hills, Sask., who had six kills, two service aces and two blocks.
Canada had control throughout all three sets, leading by no less than two points and only surrendering the lead three times early in the first and second games.
“I’m pretty relieved that we are starting,” said head coach Larry McKay from the University of Winnipeg. “We were in the village for a few days and we were anxious to begin. We played a good team and we were prepared to play well. It was the beginning for us and we will build on that. I think we’ll need to be better than we were today.”
Team Canada website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/universiade/summer/2013
Team Canada Twitter: @CDNUniversiade | #gocanada
Summer Universiade website: www.kazan2013.com/en
Canada is looking for a podium spot for the second time in the last four Universiade tournaments. After claiming a silver medal in 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand, the Canucks finished sixth in 2009 in Belgrade, Serbia, and barely missed the podium in 2011 in Shenzhen, China, taking fourth place.
Next up for the Canadian men is Mexico (1-0) Sunday at 8 p.m. local (noon ET).
SATURDAY, JULY 6 RESULTS
Canada wins 3-2 over Brazil on consolation side of the draw, team competition wraps up on Sunday.
Men’s 1m springboard
Preliminaries: 20. Cody Yano, Edmonton, Alta., 299,70. Does not advance.
Preliminaries: 4. Canada (Janelle Ball, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., Gabriella Brisson, Calgary, Alta., Rachel Fréchette, Deux-Montagnes, Que., Katherine MacLeod, Pointe-Claire, Que., Rebecca Maule, Guelph, Ont., Samantha Nealon, Guelph, Ont., Lisa Sanders, Gormley, Ont.), 83.00. The competition wraps up with the team free on Monday.
Canada (1-0) wins 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-16) over United Arab Emerites (0-1) in first Pool D match, will face Mexico (1-0) Sunday at 10 a.m. ET (6 p.m. Kazan).
WOMEN’S WATER POLO
Canada (1-0) wins 11-10 over Italy (0-1) in first Pool A match, will face Russia (1-0) Monday at noon ET (8 p.m. Kazan).