Canada still searching for first win at women’s world volleyball championships

OSAKA, Japan - Team Canada is still searching for its first victory at the 2010 FIVB World Women's Volleyball Championship, falling 25-13, 25-16, 25 21 to Russia on Sunday. 

A slow start against the defending-champion and seventh-ranked Russians was too much to overcome, though Canada did improve from set to set, despite losing 3-0 before a crowd of 1,670 at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Sunday.

Russian dominated the first set and controlled the second but
Canada showed signs of
life and carried that into the third set and held leads of 9-6 and 10-9 before ultimately falling 25-21 and slipping to 0-3 in the Pool D standings.

The Canadians believe the steady growth in their collective game will eventually pay off.

"The whole match was a little bit like we've played the whole tournament," said Team
Canada head coach Arnd Ludwig. "We started really slow and we gave Russia a little too much respect in the first set. We improved in the second set and played really well in the third set.

"The last time
Canada played Russia was in 1996, so our girls just know them from watching them on TV or from how people talk about them. The experience we gain here is all part of the learning process."

Sarah Pavan led the Canadian attack with 12 points on 10 kills and two blocks, while captain Tammy Mahon had her best game of the tournament, picking up seven kills.

Ekaterina Gamova had 12 kills, two blocks and two service aces to pace

"We started out slow, which seems to be kind of a weak point for us," said
Mahon. "We didn't have any  pressure to win that match, nobody expected that from us. We wanted to work on our team feeling and we had done that by the end of the third set. I wish we could have pushed it to another set because I think we would have kept building and building.

"I wanted to keep playing."

Canada will take Monday off before returning to action on Tuesday against Turkey.

In order to keep its hopes of advancing to the second round alive, Canada must defeat Turkey, who improved to 2-1 Sunday after winning a five-set marathon against the Dominican Republic.

"We've grown every match," said Pavan. "We've steadily progressed. The two games that we have been expecting to compete really hard in are our last two and that's really ideal. Hopefully, we can take what we've learned against these great teams and put it into play."