GWANGJU, South Korea (Team Canada) – It took a little more than two hours for Turkey to claim victory over Canada’s women’s volleyball team, taking the fifth set in the opening match of the Gwangju Universiade women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday night. Set scores in the see-saw battle were (19-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-22, 14-16).
“The team has trainged very hard during the past month and tonight showed that we can play with a world power,” said head coach Olivier Trudel (Université de Montréal). “We are disappointed because we wanted the win, but our team is hungry and we know our talent level. We need to digest this defeat as there are still many games left.”
Canada was battling to come from behind throughout the first set. Turkey quickly jumped ahead 5-2, then 10-5. At that point Canada won back four straight points, prompting a Turkish timeout which succesfully turned the tide.
A kill by Alicia Perrin (Trinity Western University) made the score 18-16, but Turkey would not relinquish the lead and closed out the set with three straight points, 25-19.
The second set turned around for Canada. This time, it was the red and white which started with a 10-5 lead, thanks to a five point streak which was punctuated by a Meg Casault (University of Alberta) ace.
Undaunted, Turkey tied the score at 13-13 and eventually took a 19-18 lead on three straight points. The Canadians responded immediately and the set was deadlocked at 23-23. Marie-Alex Bélanger (Université de Montréal) then scored a big kill before Dione Lane (University of Alberta) followed with an ace.
Olivier Trudel’s squad was then dominated at the beginning of the third set. The Turkish players scored seven straight points and led 11-1. The set finished at 25-16.
To start the fourth frame, Canada saw their rivals score four straight points for a 7-3 lead. Setter Nikki Cornwall (Trinity Western University) entered the game to replace Katia Forcier (Université de Montréal). Trailing 12-8, Trudel used a timeout, and Canada rattled off five points to regain the lead.
“Our team was built for everyone to contribute and each player saw action tonight,” added Trudel. “I thought Dione Lang made an impact, and Jessie Niles made a difference defensively.”
Canada continued to build the advantage, claiming a 17-13 lead before forcing a deciding fifth set thanks to a decisive kill from Bélanger.
However, Turkey came out for the fifth set like a lion and grabbed a 5-0 lead. Canada then began to mount an improbable comeback. Trailing 13-8, the red and white clawed their way back even with an ace from Casualt at 14-14. Turkey spoiled the comeback by claiming the final two points.
Danielle Brisebois (UBC) and Perrin, who is the team’s captain, were the leading scorers with 16 points apiece. Brisebois scored 14 kills, one block, and an ace. For her part, Perrin collected 12 kills, three blocks, and an ace.
The Canucks will play their second match on Sunday, facing Zimbabwe (0-1) at 6 p.m. (5 a.m. ET).