Women’s VNL wraps up in Calgary
July 03, 2022: Team Canada closed out its 2022 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) schedule with 1-3 (25-22, 25-27, 24-26, 23-25) loss to the Netherlands Sunday night at the 7 Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina Nation, near Calgary, Alberta.
A strong start to the match helped the hosts on their way to an opening set win but finding a way past the Dutch proved tough in the three nail-biting sets to follow.
“I was proud of the way we battle back when we were down, every set was close and I’m proud of how we didn’t give up till the last point,” Calgary’s Hilary Howe said. “We talked a lot today about being mentally ready to give it our all, and give everything we have, in our last game because it is a really tiring tournament. Yeah, proud of the team and the way we came out tonight.”
Canada closes out its VNL season with a 4-8 mark, in 12th place in the standings, and has earned a return trip to the world’s top league for next season ahead of Olympic qualifying.
“I think over the last few years we’ve shown that we’re an up-and-coming team and that we can play with the best,” said head coach Shannon Winzer reflecting on the 2022 VNL experience. “We have a few things we need to tweak, but every year, every game, we get better and better and we’re definitely a team to watch. So, it’s very promising – this stage of the quad, the age of our athletes – we’re in a really good spot for 2024.”
Kiera Van Ryk, who finished 5th in VNL scoring, and Alexa Gray led Canada with 22 points apiece versus the Netherlands. Howe added seven points as Canada worked to extend the Dutch to a fifth set.
While the result may not have been what the Canadians had in mind, the chance to play at home was everything they could have hoped for. “A lot of us play overseas during the year, and to play at home is a real privilege, and something we all would love to do all the time if we could,” added Howe. “So, we were really, really happy to be in Canada for VNL.”
Gray agreed: “It was really awesome, we fed off the energy of the crowd. It’s the last week of VNL and it’s been six weeks of travelling, so I don’t think we could have played like we did without the crowd behind us.”
Earlier Sunday in Alberta, Belgium beat Japan 3-2 and the United States wrapped up first-place in the preliminary round with a 3-1 victory over Germany.
The top eight finishers in VNL 2022 travel to Ankara, Turkiye for the Final Phase which opens July 13th.
Roster (week 3):
#13 Brie King, Surrey, BC
#12 Jennifer Cross (Captain), Scarborough, ON
#19 Emily Maglio, Coquitlam, BC
#6 Jazmine White, Oshawa, ON
#14 Hilary Howe, Calgary, AB
#11 Andrea Mitrovic, Mississauga, ON
#9 Alexa Gray, Calgary, AB
#16 Caroline Livingston, Kelowna, BC
#3 Kiera Van Ryk, Surrey, BC
#25 Sydney Grills, Vancouver, BC
#5 Julia Murmann, Toronto, ON
#8 Alicia Ogoms, Winnipeg, MB
#20 Arielle Palermo, Burlington, ON
#10 Courtney Baker, Bridgewater, NS
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