Canada wins first match at European Continental Cup

KETTERING, EnglandCanada defeated Azerbaijan 25-17, 25-18, 25-12 on Thursday morning in consolation playoff action at the inaugural 11-country European Continental Cup sitting volleyball tournament.

It was Canada’s first victory at the tournament after going 0-5 in round robin action. With the win the Canadians remain in contention for ninth place.

"We responded well today with our win against Azerbaijan,’’ said Canada’s head coach Ian Halliday of Calgary. ‘’We played consistently better as team for the full three sets and as a result we were rewarded.  We now need to build off of our performance today and prepare for our final match against Kazakhstan tomorrow."

The Canadian team members are: Jason Naval of Toronto, Douglas Learoyd and Mikael Bartholdy of Calgary, Austin Hinchey and Chad Drummond of Edmonton, Larry Matthews and David Marchand of St. Albert, Alta., Eric Dechaine of St. Lina, Alta., Jose Rebelo of St-Hubert, Que., and Gregory Stewart of Kamloops, Alta.

The staff members are: Ian Halliday, head coach; Raymond Sewell, assistant coach; Kerry MacDonald, head of delegation and Hilary Beck, athletic therapist – all from Calgary,

The European Continental Cup is the biggest and most important event in the sport before the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

It is also Canada’s last major competition prior to the ParaPan Am Games  in Mexico in November which is the Olympic qualifying event.

Tournament website: http://www.volleyballengland.org/ECVD-Continental-Cup-2011/fixtures-and-results.php