Canada’s women’s team faced two of the top three teams in the world – Brazil (3) and USA (1) – to open its first-ever Volleyball Nations League (VNL) tournament in Rimini, Italy, this week.

Today, the Canadians who are ranked 18 in the FIVB rankings, faced off against another strong and familiar team, Dominican Republic (ranked 9).

“We had about as difficult a draw as it gets in our first games of VNL having to face both Brazil and USA  right off the bat,” explains Head Coach Shannon Winzer. “I think across all three games we have shown what great potential this team has. There is a lot to build on and over the next 12 games and we will be looking to try to sustain some of those performances for longer.”

Canada started a bit slower today but rebounded to come within two points in the second and to win the third set.  Said Winzer: “Sets 2-3 today versus Dominican Republic were already an improvement on our first two games and in big moments we were able to execute big plays. Our goal is simply to build on each game so that each time we are on court it is a step forward.”

Kiera Van Ryk (Surrey, BC) had 25 points in the match today, and is one of the tournament’s top attackers so far.

The women now get a few days off, and tomorrow the men’s tournament kicks off, also in Rimini, with Canada facing the USA.  All matches are streamed live in Canada at Schedule:

Game 1: BRA vs CAN 3-1 (23-25, 25-11, 25-9, 25-14)
BRA led in all scoring categories
CAN led in digs – 48 vs. 43 for BRA
CAN led in receptions – 96 vs 51 for BRA
CAN led in sets – 60 vs 35 for BRA
Top CAN Scorers: Van Ryk (13 – third overall), Maglio (10), Howe (9)
Maglio led team with a 14.71 Efficiency%, Cross only other positive – 2.78%
Cross led team with 7 blocks, Maglio/Mitrovic with 5

Game 2: USA vs CAN 3-0 (26-24, 25-15, 25-10)
CAN led in opponent error points (18 vs. 14), USA led in all others
CAN led in receptions – 67 vs 46 for USA
Top CAN scorers: Van Ryk (13 – second overall), Howe/Joseph/Maglio (4)
Joseph led team with a 27.27% efficiency%, Van Ryk 16.13, Mitrovic 3.45
Maglio led team with 7 blocks, King/Howe with 3

Game 3: CAN vs DOM 1-3 (17-25, 24-26, 30-28, 16-25)
CAN led in Block points 11 vs 6 for DOM
Can led in receptions – 91 vs 73 for DOM
Top CAN scorers: Van Ryk (25 – led both teams), Maglio (12), Howe (10)
Van Ryk led in efficiency% with 24.24%, Maglio 11.9%, Howe 10%
Joseph and Maglio led team with 9 blocks, King/Cross with 7