Canada shows improvement in loss to Dominican Republic

 TIJUANA, Mexico – Canada lost 25-12, 27-25, 21-25, 25-15 to the Dominican Republic, the ninth ranked team in the world,  on Monday night at the Olympic qualifying tournament in women’s volleyball.

Canada, ranked 22nd, drops to 0-2 in round robin play and must beat Honduras on Tuesday to advance to the playoff round and keep its Olympic hopes alive.  The tournament winner qualifies for the 2012 London Games.

‘’Today was a lot better,’’ said Canadian Libero Julie Young of Red Deer, Alta.  ‘’We still had some inconsistent moments but we played a much better team game.  You could feel the support was there and therefore our passing, hitting and covering improved.’’

Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., led the Canadians with 24 points while Tasha Holness of Calgary added 10.

As was the case in its opening match Sunday against Puerto Rico, the Canadians had a rough start as the Dominican Republic capitalized on a nine-point run to rout the Canadians. 

The second set was the turning point as Canada led most of the way but squandered set point twice as the Dominicans completed a strong comeback. In the third set however the Canadians made sure they stayed far ahead building a seven-point lead at one point.

The score was close through the first official timeout of the fourth before the Dominicans went on a 10-2 spree to build an 18-10 lead.

‘’Tonight after the first set we stayed much calmer and didn’t give in to frustration,’’ said Canada’s head coach Arnd Ludwig.  ‘’Our reception control was strong through the second and third sets but in the fourth we stopped moving again.’’

In the other Group A match, Puerto Rico hammered winless Honduras 25-4, 25-6, 25-4.  Puerto Rico and the Dominican are both 2-0 and will face each other Tuesday for first spot in the group and a bye to the semifinal.

In Group B, Cuba is 2-0 after an easy win over Costa Rica 25-22, 25-15, 25-6.  Mexico (1-0) faced Trinidad and Tobago (0-1) in the late match.

Canada faces Honduras on Tuesday at 3 p.m. (EDT)