Canadian women down Turkey for 4th win at Volleyball Nations League
Canada surpasses 2021 win count with 3-1 set victory
Alexa Gray tallied 22 points, while Kiera Van Ryk added 20 to help the Canadian women's indoor volleyball team edge Turkey 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23) in Calgary on Tuesday for their fourth Volleyball Nations League win of the season.
Hilary Howe, who — like Gray — was playing in her hometown, had 14 points for Canada (4-5). Ebrar Karakurt led Turkey (5-4) with 23.
The Canadian squad has already surpassed its 2021 win count. Last year, Canada produced a disappointing 3-12 record in the tournament, held in a bubble in Rimini, Italy.
"We haven't hosted a tournament in a long time, and to win at home in such an important match for us it's huge. It can't be overstated," said captain Jennifer Cross of Scarborough, Ont., who had five points, in a post-game interview.
"We talked about playing one game at a time, and I think that really showed. We were 100 per cent focused on this match and we'll take it day by day, but that was huge for our program."
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The team appreciates playing in home soil, said Cross, who also praised the atmosphere at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex.
"We play overseas for most of the year. We very rarely get to play in Canada. Our friends and family, while they support us, they never get to see all the hard work that we do. Especially for the local girls, it's so special to have their family and friends here. It's an special feeling," said the 29-year-old.
Canada sits ninth in the 16-team standings led by unbeaten Japan (8-0). The seven best-ranked sides will qualify to the finals, which will be held in Ankara, Turkey, from July 13 to 17. The host nation automatically qualifies.
The Canadian women will get back on court on Friday to take on Serbia before facing Germany and the Netherlands, respectively, on Saturday and Sunday in their final games of the preliminary round.
All games will be available to stream via CBCsports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.