Canada opens NORCECA Championship with a win

NORCECA vollyball

MORELIA, Mexico, September 27, 2015 – Canada began its Women’s NORCECA Continental Championship (September 27 to October 2) with a victory over Cuba 3-2 (25-22,18-25, 22-25, 25-20,15-12) at Bicentenario Auditorium in Morelia, Mexico, on Sunday.

After a slow first set, Cuba powered up in the second set while the third set was once again close.

Canada found better opportunities in the fourth to extend the contest to the tie-breaker.  With several consecutive unforced errors by Cuba, Canada managed to wrap up the match by a three-point margin. Despite Cuba’s lead in spikes (62-45), Canada prevailed in scoring on 37 Cuban errors and had the advantage in blocking (19-14). In aces, Cuba had a one-point advantage 5-4.Opposite Tabitha Love led Canadian scorers with 21 points, on 14 kills, six blocks and one ace. Also for Canada, Dana Cranston had 15 points, Kyla Richey 13 points and Jaimie Thibeault finished with 12 points. Cuban outside hitter Sulian Matienzo led all scorers with 24 points, followed by teammate Jennifer Alvarez with 22 points; Regla Garcia and Diamara Lescay contributed 11 and 13 points respectively.

“I am very proud of my team for preserving,” said Brittney Page, captain of the Canadian team. “Cuba has impressive athletic qualities, their outside hitters are very powerful; we had to focus on our reception to prevail.”Canada’s coach Arnd Ludwig said: “It was an intense match; we both struggled in the beginning due to nerves. I am very proud of my team’s performance for winning a difficult fourth set, and keeping calm as well as in the fifth.”The top four teams in the final ranking of this tournament will advance to NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament that grants a direct ticket to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.As pool play continues on Monday, Cuba (0-1) will face Costa Rica (0-1) and Canada (1-0) faces United States (1-0) in Pool A matches.Canada (Group A) is scheduled to play the following preliminary matches:Sept. 27: 17:00 – Canada vs Cuba  3-2 (25-22, 18-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-12)
Sept. 28: 18:00 – Canada vs United States
Sept. 29: 14:00 – Canada vs Costa Rica
Canadian Roster (name, hometown)Liberos:
Janie Guimond – Bécancour, QC
Kristen Moncks – Standard, AB
Outside Hitters:
Tabitha Love – Dauphin, MB
Shanice Marcelle – Victoria, BC
Kyla Richey – Robert’s Creek, BC
Dana Cranston – Fort St. John, BC
Brittney Page – Vernon, BC
Rebecca Pavan – Kitchener, ON
Jennifer Cross – Scarborough, ON
Lucy Charuk – Tsawwassen, BC
Marisa Field – Kelowna, BC
Jaimie Thibeault – Sylvan Lake, AB  
Danielle Smith – Beaverlodge, AB
Megan Cyr – St. Andrews, MB
Arnd Ludwig – Head Coach
Ryan Ratushniak – Asst Coach
Byron Bahniuk – Athletic Therapist
Shane Smith – Statistician
Nichole Mailey – Team Manager
For more information on the Continental Championship visit www.norceca.netReport and photo courtesy of NORCECA