Canada defeated in 3 sets by 3rd-ranked Serbia at Olympic women's volleyball qualifier
Canada's record slips to 1-2 in pool play, set to play host China on Wednesday
The Canadian women's volleyball team lost its second straight game in Olympic qualifying to Serbia on Tuesday in Ningbo, China.
After defeating the ninth-ranked Netherlands in the opener, No. 11 Canada fell to No. 10 Dominican Republic on Sunday before being downed by third-ranked Serbia 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-21), a team that has yet to lose a set through its 3-0 start to sit atop Pool A in the Olympic qualification tournament.
"Serbia is number three in the world for a reason and are an incredibly physical team but I don't think we had our best performance today," said Shannon Winzer, Canada's head coach. "Our blocking and defence were disjointed and I think at times we played within ourselves instead of the competitive aggressive team that you've gotten used to seeing. Tomorrow, we face China, another top team, and we have to go back to finding confidence in our style of play and the things that we know we can do well."
Canada is back in action Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. ET against No. 6 China, which also carries an undefeated record in Pool A at 2-0. The match will be streamed live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.
In the first set, Calgary's Alexa Gray was able to keep Canada close with a couple attacks to bring the deficit to 19-17 and 21-18, but the powerful Serbian squad pulled away to win its seventh straight set of the tournament, 25-19.
Tijana Boškovic dominated the second set for Serbia, connecting on nine points, including a set-winning attack to double Serbia's lead heading into the third.
WATCH | Canada bested by Serbia:
Canada responded well, holding a lead at 9-7 — its first multi-point lead of the match — and then taking a 12-11 lead on a controversial point by Gray where she appeared to execute a dig the Serbians protested touched the ground, then followed it up with an attack to take the point.
Gray led Canada with nine points, while Boškovic was immense for Serbia with 24 points on 19 attack points, one block and four service points.
Path 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.
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.
- 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