Canada faces strong German side in home opener

Women's Grand Prix Richmond Opener

2017 FIVB World Grand Prix photo by FIVB

Germany earned its sixth straight win in the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix with a three-set victory over Canada (25-17, 25-18, 25-20) to open its Group 2 weekend at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

On the strength of 12 kills and two blocks from captain Maren Froom, Germany was in control throughout the match, pushing its overall record to 6-1 in the World Grand Prix.

Canada’s Marie-Alex Bélanger had a team-leading eight kills for Canada, who saw its record drop to 2-5 in the tournament.

Germany’s sixth straight victory sets a team record for consecutive wins in the World Grand Prix.

In the first set, Germany raced out to an 8-2 lead at the technical timeout and never looked back. Fromm had a team-high four kills, as the visitors cruised to a convincing eight-point win in the opener. With a strong German serve, Canada was on the back foot early on and never recovered. A stuff block from Germany’s Jennifer Pettke sealed the set.

The second set was tight in the early stages, until a run from Germany gave the visitors a 12-7 lead. The Canadian outfit closed to within two points, at 14-12, but Germany responded with a 4-0 run to secure a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. A kill from Germany’s Jennifer Geerties put her team on set-point and a Leonie Schwertmann ace finished it, with Germany taking a seven-point win.

Canada came out in the third set on a mission and after a Sarah Chase kill looked as good as it had all night, grabbing a 7-6 lead. However, the Germans swung right back, going on a 5-0 run to turn the tables and go ahead 11-7. Canada climbed to within two points at 16-14, but never closer, with Germany holding off the home side the rest of the way. Geerties tallied the winning kill, with Germany nabbing the set by five points.

The match marked the first time Canada had ever played a home match in the World Grand Prix.

“It’s hard to start a match like that and we never really found our rhythm,” said Canada’s captain, Lucy Charuk (Vancouver, BC).  “They used our block a lot to score points high off hands. It was hard for us to get into our blocking defense rhythm and we just couldn’t get it going.”

“It was exciting playing at home, but I think a few of us were a little bit nervous playing in Canada. It’s a new experience, but it’s great to be here and play in front of family and friends.”

Canada and Germany were playing each other in the World Grand Prix for the first time ever.

The last time these two teams met in a major tournament was at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta when Germany knocked off the Canadians in three sets.

Canada will take on Peru in its next match, while Germany will play the Czech Republic.

FIVB World Grand Prix Week 3 Schedule (all times PDT)

July 21, 2017 
Canada vs Germany – 0-3
Peru vs Czech Republic – 8:10 p.m.

July 22, 2017 (tickets available here)
Canada vs Peru – 12:40 p.m.
Czech Republic vs Germany – 2:40 p.m.

July 23, 2017 (tickets available here)
Canada vs Czech Republic – 12.40pm
Germany vs Peru – 2.40pm

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