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Canada tops host China in Olympic women's volleyball qualifier

Canada volleyball Canada volleyball - The Canadian Press

NINGBO, China — Canada made a return to the win a column and handed host China its first loss in an Olympic women's qualification volleyball tournament on Wednesday.

Canada earned a 3-2 (28-26, 15-25, 25-23, 22-25, 17-15) victory and improved its record to 2-2 after dropping its two previous matches.

“That was an incredibly gutsy game,” said Canada head coach Shannon Winzer. “We asked the team to sink into the game plan and take some risks.

"This was never going to be won by playing safe and I think every single person on this team dug deep to deliver just that. Tonight, was a great reminder of what we are capable of and why this group is so special.”

Kiera Van Ryk of Surrey, B.C., paced Canada with 26 points, while Calgary's Alexa Gray followed close behind with 24. China's Li Yingying had a game-high 30 points.

Canada led in attack points (76-66), while China held the advantage in blocking (19-11) and aces (10-3).

The top two teams in each of the three pools of eight qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Canada is currently fifth in Pool A, with China, the Netherlands and the Dominican Republic at 3-1 and Serbia at 4-0.

Canada next plays 0-4 Ukraine on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2023.