Canada completes strong finish at Pan Am Cup for seventh place

TIJUANA, Mexico – Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., (photo) produced a match-high 22 points on Saturday to lead Canada to a 25-18, 11-25, 25-14, 25-22 victory over Brazil at the Pan Am Cup women’s volleyball tournament. 

With the win, Canada places seventh at the 11-country meet with an overall record of two wins and five losses. The Canadians went 0-4 in the round robin but rebounded with a strong consolation playoff defeating Trinidad and Tobago, dropping a close five-setter to Argentina, before bumping Brazil today. It was Canada’s first tournament this season.

Canada was also seventh at last year’s Pan Am Cup but head coach Arnd Ludwig, says this year’s schedule was much tougher with two matches against Argentina and Brazil, and one as well against the Dominican Republic and Cuba, all ahead of Canada in the world rankings.

“We played tough opponents in almost every match,” said Ludwig. “We had some really good moments but our biggest troubles were at the end of sets where we seemed to lose control. But all in all we played pretty good.”

Tasha Holness of Calgary added 13 points and Canadian team captain Tammy Mahon of Holland, Man., 12. Julie Young of Red Deer, Alta., led all players with 23 digs. 

Pavan, who earned three of her points on service aces, made an immediate impact in her return to the national team this year, leading Canada in scoring in five of its seven matches.

The 6’5” right side had a standout career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the NCAA winning the 2006 national title and was named the NCAA’s female athlete of the year (all sports combined) in 2007. She has also played professionally in Italy.

“We have more depth on our team now and Sarah is a key addition,” said Mahon. ‘’We are on a better path and really focused on where we want to go.”

Ludwig’s biggest concern as he heads back to the training base in Winnipeg is the team’s defence. He said there were communication problems on the court and ball control will be a big focus in training as the team continue preparations for the world championships this October in Japan.

“This was a very important tournament for us,” said Ludwig. “We had all these strong teams and we showed we are close to them and if we have a really good day we can beat them. That’s very positive for us right now as we build towards the worlds.”

Canadian roster for the Pan Am Cup women’s volleyball tournament June 19-26 in Tijuana, Mexico.

Players; Tammy Mahon, Holland, Man.; Tonya Mokelki, Weyburn, Sask.; Ashley Voth, Winnipeg; Kyla Richey, Roberts Creek, B.C.; Jennifer Hinze, Vancouver; Marisa Field, Kelowna, B.C.; Tasha Holness, Calgary; Sarah Pavan, Kitchener, Ont.; Carla Bradstock, Richmond, B.C.; Janie Guimond, Bécancour, Que.; Julie Young, Red Deer, Alta.; Lauren O'Reilly, Langley, B.C.


Head Coach Arnd Ludwig

Assistant Coach Scott Koskie

Team Manager Diane Scott

Athletic Therapist Ben Trunzo

Statistician David Carrassco