QUEBEC — Canada opened the NORCECA senior women's volleyball continental championship on Tuesday night by bumping off Mexico in straight sets.
Canada defeated Mexico 25-20, 25-18 and 25-20 in Pool A action in the seven-team, six-day competition at the PEPS' Amphitheatre Desjardins-Universite Laval in Quebec City.
Outside hitter Kiera Van Ryk helped lead the Canadian charge in the 69-minute match with 13 points, 11 attacks and one block. Alexa Gray of Calgary, Alta., had 15 points, nine attacks, one block and an ace, while Emily Maglio of Coquitlam, B.C., had 14 points.
Canada led in attack (43-32), block points (9-6) and service aces (5-3). Canada picked up 18 points from Mexico errors.
Outside hitter Grecia Castro López was the top scorer on the Mexican side with 14 points
"I think it wasn't our greatest performance, but I am happy that we had a match like this to start out," said Van Ryk of Surrey, B.C. "I am proud of how we showed up … there was a little bit of excitement that comes with a home crowd match. I'm proud of how we just came out and took care of business."
Nicola Negro, head coach of the Mexico squad praised her players for their performance despite the sweep.
"We arrived here in a difficult situation, most of us only last night, very late. Our setter was sick just before the game, but the girls that were on the court showed a good will and spirit," said Negro.
"There is a difference between us and Canada, especially in attack — that’s the big gap. We put a bit of pressure on serve, but they had solutions for us in transition because of their quality of play. It’s a small pool of three teams, so the second match is key for us. We need to recover and bring our energy against Puerto Rico.”
Canadian head coach Shannon Winzer figured her players were a bit nervous at the start of the match.
"I do think that we showed up with a little bit of nerves today and we played through that. I don’t think we played the cleanest volleyball to start off. But we found some rhythm and by the third set we looked more like ourselves," said Winzer.
"It was great to start off with a game like this and hopefully have some momentum going into the match with Puerto Rico tomorrow. Mexico is a tough serving team and I thought we did a good job coming around to controlling first contact after a rough start."
In earlier Pool B action, the defending champion U.S. squad crushed Costa Rica 25-3, 25-13, 25-5, while the Dominican Republic beat Cuba 25-14, 25-17, 25-16.
DIGGING IN: On Wednesday, Cuba plays the U.S., Costa Rica squares off with the Dominican Republic, and Canada plays Puerto Rico. The tournament runs until Sept. 3.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 29, 2023.
The Canadian Press