GWANGJU, South Korea (Team Canada) –The Canadian women’s teams found success on Thursday, the first day of competition at the 28th Summer Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea.
Video daily recap: https://youtu.be/dnJ2DfjVI0A
Canada had four teams kick off competition. The women won 2-0 against France in soccer action, while in water polo Canada topped Serbia 16-8. The men’s sides were less fortunate, losing 5-2 against the Italian men’s soccer team and 3-0 to Iran in volleyball.
In water polo, driver Kyra Christmas (Pacific University) scored four goals including one following an offensive rebound midway through the second quarter as the Canucks turned the game around with key defensive stops and six goals in the frame.
“As the game went on we started playing more as a unit,” said Christmas, who hails from High River, Alta. “Our blocks came together – it really is a team sport and it helps to be playing as a unit and moving as one.”
The team will be back in action on Friday, July 3 at 1:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. Eastern time) against the defending gold medalists from Russia, who will play their first match.
Despite a slow start, the women’s soccer team in red and white was able to get their game going against a technically strong French formation. Joëlle Gosselin of Quebec City and Heather Lund of Red Deer, Alta. netted Canada’s goals.
“Credit to the girls, they worked so hard to stick with our game plan,” said Canada’s bench boss Peyvand Mossavat. “We knew we were going to be playing against a very technical team. France played fantastic football, but we fought for 90 minutes and we knew if we stayed in there and minimized our errors, we could get a result. I am proud of our team.”
The women’s soccer team will continue its tournament on Saturday, July 4 at 4:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. Eastern) when it faces South Africa (0-1), who dropped its tournament opener 1-0 against the USA.
In men’s soccer, midfielder Marco Visintin (University of British Columbia) scored both of Canada’s goals in the second half but the red and white were unable to recover from a disappointing first half. Italy scored four unanswered goals in the opening 45-minutes of play by capitalizing on their speed and ball control in the Canadian zone.
“I am disappointed with our first half performance today,” said head coach Keith Mason from the University of Guelph. “We worked hard to get here and had two positive games heading into the tournament, but we let the occasion distract us and it cost us in the end.”
Mason’s squad will now have two days of rest before squaring off against Chinese Taipei (0-1-0) on July 5 at 4:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. ET).
Finally, in men’s volleyball, Canada’s junior national team had difficulty finding a rhythm in the match, and fell behind Iran early in each set.
“We played against men who had seen a lot of volleyball,” said head coach John Barrett. “They were really good at their craft, so even if we played our best volleyball it would have been a battle. It was a great experience for our guys. We will learn from it and get ready for tomorrow.”
In a match where Canada substituted liberally, Blake Scheerhoorn (Trinity Western) was the team’s leading scorer. The Belleville, Ont. native recorded six kills along with two aces.
Team Canada will have just a brief time to rest before returning to the court against Thailand (1-0) Friday at 11 a.m. (10 p.m. ET, Thursday).
THURSDAY, JULY 2 RESULTS
WOMEN’S WATER POLO
Canada (1-0) wins 16-8 Serbia (0-1) in first Pool A match, will face Russia (0-0) Friday at 12:30 a.m. ET (1:30 p.m. Gwangju).
Canada (1-0-0) wins 2-0 vs France (0-1-0) in first Pool D match, will face South Africa (0-1-0) Saturday at 3:30 a.m. ET (4:30 p.m. Gwangju).
Canada (0-1-0) loses 5-2 to Italy (1-0-0) in first Pool A match, will face Chinese Taipei (0-1-0) Sunday at 3:30 am ET (4:30 p.m. Gwangju).
Canada (0-1) loses 3-0 (19-25, 10-25, 13-25) to Iran (1-0) in first Pool B match, will face Thailand (1-0-0) Thursday at 10:00 pm ET (Friday 11:00 a.m. Gwangju).