(Photo: World ParaVolley, and reports from CPC)

Sept. 11, 2016: Canada’s women’s sitting volleyball team came out swinging today, winning its first set, but then falling to the Netherlands 1-3 (25-22, 17-25, 17-25, 22-25) in front of 7000 fans at Riocentro.

Felicia Voss-Shafiq of Burnaby, B.C. served up four aces in a row to give Canada its first lead of the tournament 8-7 in opening set; helping the team to its first set win of the Paralympics.

“I feel pretty good about how we played,” said captain Jolan Wong (Pembroke, Ont). “We had a pretty solid game plan going in. We had hosted the Netherlands over the summer to help us train, so we know a lot of how they played and their systems.”

Netherlands is ranked fifth in the world, and Canada is 14th in women’s sitting volleyball.

The Canadian team has a few veterans, but also has acquired several players who are relatively new to the sport. This is the first-ever team Canada has sent to the Paralympics in this discipline.

“Our coaches are phenomenal and are a big reason our program has grown so much over the last little while. We have recruited three really strong new players, a couple of players came back, and it’s really helped us,” explained Wong.

Canada, now with two losses, plays Ukraine (ranked third in the world) on Tuesday September 13 at 6:30pm in Brazil, or 5:30 EDT.

“Ukraine is a bigger team than we are. …. So we have to stick to our game plan and know how to work around them at the net,” said Wong.