Canada drops opening match in women’s volleyball at Pan Am Games

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Canada lost to powerhouse Cuba on Saturday 25-22, 25-16, 25-18 to open the women’s volleyball tournament at the Pan American Games.

Both squads are fielding their national teams for the tournament as they tune up for the regional Olympic qualifier this January. Canada is currently ranked 22nd in the world while Cuba, the Games defending champions, stand at number-eight.

‘’For a first match I thought we played very well,’’ said Canada’s head coach Arnd Ludwig. ‘’Cuba just out-powered us in the end but I was happy with how we never gave up. We need to put a little more pressure on our opponents in our future matches.’

With Canada’s top scorer Sarah Pavan committed to her professional team in Europe, Vancouver’s Elizabeth Cordonier led the Canadian attack with 10 points while team captain Tammy Mahon of Holland, Man., added seven.

‘’It definitely was a big challenge for us today,’’ said Canada’s Tasha Holness (in photo), who chipped in five points. ‘’This tournament is very important for us as we need to work on our cohesiveness leading up to the Olympic qualifier.’’

In an earlier game Saturday, the U.S., defeated Puerto Rico 25-17, 25-18, 25-14. Later tonight it is Mexico-Peru and Brazil-Dominican Republic.

Canada is in Group A with Brazil, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The Group B teams are Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and the U.S. The Canadians face Brazil on Sunday and the Dominican on Monday.

The quarterfinals are on Tuesday, the semis on Wednesday and the medal matches on Thursday October 20.

The Canadian women placed fifth at their last participation at the Games in 1999 and their last medal was a bronze in 1995 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Canadian women’s volleyball team for the Pan American Games October 15-29 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

1) Tricia Mayba - Winnipeg, MB

2) Julie Young - Red Deer, AB

3) Tammy Mahon - Holland, MB

4) Claire Hanna - Calgary, AB

5) Tonya Mokelki - Weyburn, SK

6) Carla Bradstock  - Richmond, BC

7) Tasha Holness - Calgary, AB

8) Elizabeth Cordonier - Vancouver, BC

9) Colette Meek - Sherwood Park, AB

10) Jennifer Hinze - Vancouver, BC

11) Brittney Page - Vernon, BC

12) Lauren O'Reilly - Langley, BC


Head Coach: Arnd Ludwig, Winnipeg

Assistant Coach: Scott Koskie, Winnipeg

Team Manger: Julien Boucher, Quebec City

Athletic Therapist: Ben Trunzo

Statistician: David Carrasco