Canada blows 2-1 lead, loses 5-setter to South Korea in Volleyball Nations League

Service reception, which was a weakness for Canada against Russia on Sunday, led to Monday’s heartbreaking five-set loss to South Korea in women’s Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.

Canadian women fall to 3-9 and face 2-10 Italians on Friday at 1 p.m. ET

Opposite hitter Kiera van Ryk (white shirt) led Canada with 24 points in Monday's five-set loss to South Korea in women’s Volleyball Nation League action in Rimini, Italy. (Submitted by Volleyball World)

Service reception, which was a weakness for Canada in a three-set loss to Russia on Sunday, led to Monday's heartbreaking defeat to South Korea in women's Volleyball Nations League.

Hilary Howe misplayed a serve on match point in the fifth and deciding set that led to a 3-2 South Korea victory by scores of 15-25, 25-18, 27-29, 25-20, 21-19 in Rimini, Italy.

The Canadians, who lost their third five-setter in 12 matches, had four chances to close out the decisive set after Brie King tied it 15-15 with a block.

"Losing this match was a little bit frustrating," Canada team captain Jennifer Cross told Volleyball World. "There are some key moments when we had match point and they went back [to South Korea] so we have to be more aggressive.

"But we are a very young team [and] I think we will learn that."

WATCH | Canada handed 2nd straight defeat in Italy:

South Korea clips Canada in Volleyball Nations League 5-set thriller

5 months ago
South Korea and Canada went the distance in women's FIVB Volleyball Nations League action in Rimini, Italy on Monday. 4:10
Canada dropped to 12th in the 16-team tournament with a 3-9 record and will have a three-day break before facing the 15th-place hosts on Friday (CBCSports.ca, 1 p.m. ET).

Opposite hitter Kiera van Ryk, who was among the starters who sat out Sunday's sweep at the hands of Russia, led the Canadians with 24 points on Monday. Outside hitter Andrea Mitrovic added 19.

Canada held the edge in blocks (11-7) and aces (9-7) but didn't have an answer for Kim Yeon Koung, MVP of the women's tourney at the 2012 London Olympics. She collected 23 points on Monday, one fewer than team leader Park Jeongah.

Service line struggles

The Canadians had a glorious chance at their fourth win after taking a 2-1 lead but couldn't build on the momentum from an exciting third-set victory.

South Korea started to pull away in the third set, building leads of 13-8 and 16-10

"Let's calm ourselves down," Canada head coach Shannon Winzer told her players during a timeout. "We can play this game."

Canada fought back and closed the gap to 22-20 on a van Ryk kill. The Surrey, B.C., native took charge, tying the set and giving her team a 24-23 advantage with a kill, only to watch Kim even matters with a kill.

Up 25-24, the Canadians couldn't close as van Ryk was charged with a misserve, as was Emily Maglio to put South Korea ahead 27-26.

After drawing even on a Howe kill, Canada won a touch block challenge to take a 28-27 lead and Howe won it with a point off a block.

The Canadians set the tone early, building leads of 7-1 and 16-9 in the opening set. They extended the margin to nine when Cross' block in the middle made it 24-15 before rookie outside hitter Carolina Livingston, who entered the set late for serving purposes, delivered the winning point with an ace.

The 15-match preliminary round ends June 23 with the top four countries advancing to the semifinals.


Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

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