Canadian women’s volleyball team confident heading into Olympic trialsWINNIPEG - Led by veterans Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., and Tammy Mahon of Holland, Man., Canada’s national women’s volleyball team expects to be in the thick of the battle at the NORCECA Olympic qualifying tournament which starts Sunday in Tijuana, Mexico.
‘’Never mind the rankings, there’s no team that can claim to be an overwhelming favourite,’’ said Mahon, the Canadian team captain in her 11thseason on the national squad. ‘’No other team has done more than what we’ve done over the last year. We’ve had a great two weeks of training with the full team leading into this and we feel fresh and ready.’’
Canada is traditionally a strong player in the NORCECA (North and Central America and Caribbean) Olympic qualifier placing second in 2000 (for Sydney) and 2007 (for 2008 in Beijing), and third in 2003 (for 2004 in Athens). The Canadian women are vying for their first Olympic berth since 1996.
Pavan is the major star on the Canadian team. After a brilliant summer with the national squad in 2011, she is coming off a highly successful professional season in Italy with Villa Cortese. She led her pro team to the final and was the top scorer in what is considered the strongest pro league in the world.
But now her focus is all on Team Canada
‘’We definitely have a size advantage on our opponents,’’ said Pavan, whose mother Cindy was a member of the 1980 women’s volleyball team that did not go to Moscow. ‘’And we’ve always been a strong blocking team. But a big key is the fact we are a team that has played together for awhile. We’ve really stuck with it.’’
The Canadians depart on Thursday night to Calgary where they will stay over night and leave for Mexico, Friday, April 27th. The tournament begins on Sunday, April 29th and will run until Saturday, May 5th.
Canada, currently ranked #22 in the world, finds themselves in a pool with Dominican Republic (world #9), Puerto Rico (world #19) and Honduras (world #69).
They will play a round robin against those teams before crossing over with the second pool which has Cuba (world #10), Mexico (world #27), Costa Rica (world #28), and Trinidad & Tobago (world #34).
In order to qualify for the Olympic Games, Team Canada must win this tournament.
April. 29: Round robin match #1 - Canada vs. Puerto Rico
April. 30: Round robin match #2 - Canada vs. Dominican Republic
May 1: Round robin match #3 - Canada vs. Honduras
May 2: Quarterfinals
May 4: Semi-finals
May 5: Finals
TEAM CANADA ROSTER
Tammy Mahon: Holland, MB
Tonya Mokelki: Weyburn, SK
Liz Cordonier: Vancouver, BC
Kyla Richey: Vancouver BC
Jennifer Hinze: Vancouver, BC
Marisa Field: Vancouver, BC
Tasha Holness: Calgary, AB
Sarah Pavan: Kitchener, ON
Brittney Page: Vernon, BC
Jaclyn Ellis: Mississauga, ON
Kelci French : Okotoks, AB
Julie Young: Red Deer, AB