GWANGJU, South Korea (Team Canada) – As they have all tournament long, Canada had to wage a fierce battle against China in the fifth place match at the Summer Universiade on Friday. This time it was the Chinese who outlasted the Canadians 3-2 (27-25, 24-26, 18-25, 25-23, 15-11).
“What a tournament! This was the result of a whole summer for this team”, said head coach Olivier Trudel. “Whenever you lose and the players have given their all, it’s going to be a disappointment. But this team has shown a lot of character, and I am very proud of them.”
In the first set, neither team could get on a run. China had two set points at 24-22, but Canada tied it up on a kill by Meg Casault (University of Alberta). A huge block later, Canada had a set point of its own. However, China won the next three points with the last one coming on an ace to win the set 27-25.
The second set was also a close contest. Canada held a slim lead through most of the frame, but extra points were required after the first Canadian set point. However, Canada prevailed on its second set point, winning the set 26-24 on a powerful kill by Danielle Brisebois (UBC).
Canada carried the momentum into the next set and led 5-2 to start the frame. The Red and White showed some of their best play of the match and dominated the set, closing it out at 25-17.
Now leading the match, Canada came out swinging in the fourth set, leading 5-1. However, China rebounded and forced the intensity back up. China came even at 8-8 and the teams traded blows from there until China pulled ahead 21-17. Canada closed the gap to 24-23, but China won the next point to force a fifth set.
“Today I thought our service and reception were a bit inconsistent,” said Trudel. “At the international level, you have to be extremely strong in those areas.”
The teams were neck and neck in the final set until the 6-6 mark when China won three straight points to gain the advantage. The lead grew to 12-7, and despite a late charge from Canada, China won 15-11.
Hitters Danielle Brisebois and Marie-Alex Bélanger (University of Montreal) each scored 25 points. Brisebois landed 21 kills and four blocks, while Belanger counted 24 kills and one block.
The Canadians finish the tournament in sixth place, the same result achieved by Canada at the 2013 Universiade in Kazan, Russia.