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June 20, 2021 (Rimini, Italy) Canada’s women’s team concluded its first-ever FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) tournament today in Italy.

Although the team finished with three losses in this final phase, including today’s match with Belgium, there were several bright spots for the squad. Canada had a memorable victory over China earlier on among its three wins, and players stepped up, including Kiera Van Ryk (Surrey, BC) who was consistently among the top scorers and attackers of the whole event.

“Playing in VNL was an invaluable experience for this team; the perfect start to this quad,” said Canada’s head coach Shannon Winzer. “The last round was definitely not our best: I think we have a lot of take-aways on how to manage ourselves mentally and physically across such a marathon of a competition. It was good to play better volleyball in our last game versus Belgium after a couple of tough games, particularly in the first set tonight. But they stepped up their service aggression in the second and third set, and we once again struggled to manage first contact and find consistent rhythm offensively.
“Overall, I do think we have shown that we can compete at this level against the best in the world even if we were not always able to sustain it and with such a young roster at the start of this quad. I think the future is very exciting for women’s volleyball in Canada. It’s important now that we go home and identify the key areas that we can improve on this summer and keep building from there.”
Team captain Jennifer Cross of Scarborough, Ontario, said in the post-match interview: “I’m really proud of my team for fighting…. I think that we did a really good job during this tournament. We have a very young team, so we didn’t know what to expect. We go for it all the time. The result is not what we wanted, but there are a lot of lessons to learn.”
The men’s team now plays its final matches of the tournament beginning on Monday against Netherlands.

In Canada, matches are live online and select matches are on CBC TV:

Recap of recent results:

Week 5 (Women)
June 20
BEL vs CAN 3-0 (26-24, 25-17, 25-17)
June 19
THA vs CAN 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-17)
June 18
CAN vs ITA 0-3 (18-25, 20-25, 20-25)

Week 4 (Men) 
June 17
JPN vs CAN 0-3 (22-25, 23-25,18-25)
June 16
CAN vs GER 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-21)
June 15
CAN vs POL 0-3 (22-25, 23-25, 19-25)

Week 4 (Women)
June 14
KOR vs CAN 3-2 (15-25, 25-18, 27-29, 25-20, 21-19)
June 13
RUS vs CAN 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-14)
June 12
CAN vs SRB 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 25-18)
For full VNL results and updates, see the event web site:

Photo: FIVB