Canada looks composed in final win of the women’s challenger

Canada concluded its Women’s Challenge Cup tournament with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-20) win over Puerto Rico at the Sportplex Beau-Château in Chateauguay, Quebec. The host team won both of its matches and advances to a Volleyball Nations League qualification tournament.

The win was even sweeter, as Canada lost the same tournament last year in Edmonton, Alberta, in five sets to Puerto Rico.

Today, Kiera Van Ryk, also the U Sports female athlete of the year, led scoring in the match with 16 points, followed by Alexa Gray (who was named tournament MVP) with 12. Paulina Prieto Cerame was top scorer for the losing side with 10 points.

Head coach Tom Black, who is new to the Canadian team this year, said: “I was really proud. The team has come so far in the past month, and to come out undefeated on our home court to a quality team such as Puerto Rico is something they should really be proud of….  I saw more confidence today than yesterday (against Mexico). I thought we played a pretty composed match, except for a couple of spurts. We’re only going to get better, and this lets the players know they are doing the right things and they can be successful.”

The local crowd was treated to Canada winning both its matches on home soil, and now the team prepares for the Olympic Qualifier and the Pan American Games.

Athlete quotes:
Megan Cyr, captain of the Canadian team: “We just know the work we’ve put in these last four weeks, and we trust in our preparation. When it comes down to the match, we just perform and have fun. This win sets us up for a great summer of good competition.”

Stephanie Enright, captain of the Puerto Rican team: “I am just happy that we came to battle at the end and that we didn’t give up.  We tried to improve our game, but we never found rhythm in our match. The summer is long (and includes the Pan Am Cup, Pam Am Games and Olympic qualification tournament), so we will learn from this one.  It’s a young team, and we can get better.”

Puerto Rico def. México 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-15)
Canada def. México 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-17)
Canada def. Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-20)

#1 Jessie Niles, Turner Valley, AB
#2 Autumn Bailey, Burlington, ON
#3 Kiera Van Ryk, Surrey, BC
#4 Kyla Richey, Roberts Creek, B.C.
#5 Danielle Smith, Beaverlodge, AB
#9 Alexa Gray, Calgary, AB
#11 Andrea Mitrovic, Mississauga, ON
#12 Jennifer Cross, Scarborough, ON
#16 Shainah Joseph, Ottawa, ON
#17 Kristen Moncks, Standard, AB
#19 Marie-Alex Bélanger, Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, QC
#20 Alicia Perrin, Creston, BC
#22 Megan Cyr, St. Andrews, MB
#23 Emily Maglio, Coquitlam, BC