Canada toppled by Dominican Republic at Olympic women's volleyball qualifier

The Canadian women's volleyball team lost its first game in Olympic qualifying to the Dominican Republic on Sunday in Ningbo, China.

Record slips to 1-1 in pool play in China after opening win over the Netherlands

Two Dominican Republic players jump up at the net to try to block a return by a Canadian player while two other Canadians look on.
Two Dominican Republic players, right, elevate to block Canadian captain Alexa Gray's attack on Sunday in Ningbo, China. Gray and company lost in five sets and saw their record drop to 1-1. (Courtesy Volleyball World)

The Canadian women's volleyball team lost its first game in Olympic qualifying to the Dominican Republic on Sunday in Ningbo, China.

Much like Canada's opener against the ninth-ranked Netherlands, No. 10 Dominican Republic presented the 11th-ranked Canadians with an even matchup, ultimately prevailing in five sets (25-17, 22-25, 23-25, 25-18, 15-12).

"Today was a tough loss against Dominican," said Canada's Head Coach, Shannon Winzer. "These games come down to small things in key moments and they finished out on top today."

The game served as a rematch of the semifinal of the 2023 NORCECA Women's Continental Championship, held in Quebec City in early September, where the Dominican Republic edged Canada 3-1 (27-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20) and went on to claim gold while Canada took bronze.

While the Dominican Republic was able to capitalize on a 2-1 advantage in that semifinal, Canada was not able to do the same Sunday.

WATCH | Canada falls to Dominican Republic in 5 sets:

Canada and the Dominican Republic go 5 sets in volleyball Olympic qualifier

17 days ago
Duration 2:22
Featured VideoThe Canadian women and the Dominicans went the distance at the FIVB Road to Paris Women's Volleyball Olympic Qualification Tournament in Ningbo, China.

With Canada up 2-1 and trailing the fourth game by just two at 19-17, the Dominican Republic was able to rattle off six of the next seven points to force a winner-take-all fifth set, spearheaded by Brayelin Martinez starting a 5-0 run with an attack, then scoring the clinching point to take the game 25-18.

The final set remained tightly contested throughout, although Canada last held the lead at 2-1, with both teams trading blows until Gaila González delivered the match-clinching point, one of her team-high 25 points on the day.

Canadian captain Alexa Gray of Calgary led her team with 25 points, while Kiera Van Ryk of Surrey, B.C., added 23.

Canada is back in action Monday at 10 p.m. ET against No. 2 Serbia, which sits atop Pool A at 2-0 alongside China. The match will be streamed live on, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.

"We face Serbia next and will keep working to find consistency in attack against another physical team," said Winzer.

WATCH | Full coverage of Canada vs. Dominican Republic:

FIVB Road to Paris Women's Volleyball Olympic Qualification Tournament: Canada vs. Dominican Republic

18 days ago
Duration 2:22:26
Featured VideoWatch the Canadian women take on the Dominican Republic at the FIVB Road to Paris Women's Volleyball Olympic Qualification Tournament from Ningbo, China.

Path back to the Olympics

Canada needs a top-two finish in its group to qualify for the Paris Olympics next summer, while six other spots will be available via world ranking next year.

The remainder of Pool A features No. 6 China, No. 16 Czech Republic, No. 18 Ukraine and No. 23 Mexico.

Canada last qualified for the Olympic women's volleyball tournament in Atlanta 1996, finishing ninth.

Qualifying for Paris would take the Canadian team to an overseas Games for the first time. Other than Atlanta, Canada only featured in Olympic women's volleyball in Los Angeles 1984 and Montreal 1976, finishing eighth in both events.

Canada roster

  • Kiera Van Ryk — Surrey, B.C.
  • Vicky Savard — Jonquière, Que.
  • Julia Murmann — Toronto
  • Jazmine White — Oshawa, Ont.
  • Alicia Ogoms — Winnipeg
  • Alexa Gray — Calgary
  • Andrea Mitrovic — Mississauga, Ont.
  • Brie King — Langley, B.C.
  • Hilary Howe — Calgary
  • Shaïnah Joseph — Ottawa
  • Kacey Jost — St. Albert, Alta.
  • Emily Maglio — Coquitlam, B.C.
  • Avery Heppell — Langley, B.C.
  • Quinn Pelland — Wanham, Alta.

With files from The Canadian Press, Volleyball Canada

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