Canadian women’s volleyball team launches season at Pan Am Cup June 18-26 in Tijuana, Mexico.

WINNIPEG – The world championship-bound Canadian women’s volleyball team launch their competitive season at the Pan Am Cup June 18-26 in Tijuana, Mexico. The tournament features five of the top-15 teams in the world including number-one Brazil.

The Canadian team went through an intense selection camp in early May and selected a 30-player roster for the A and B national teams. Since then there’s been a lot of training and practicing and national team head coach Arnd Ludwig says the players are anxious to play for real.

“We’ve been working a lot and now we need some games,” said Ludwig. “The selection was very competitive and because the girls were so well prepared we moved right away onto a higher level of practice. So we’re ahead of last year’s pace.”

The 12-member team for the Pan Am Cup features key veterans such as team captain Tammy Mahon of Holland, Man., in her ninth season on the national team, fifth-year member Ashley Voth of Winnipeg and fourth-year members Marisa Field of Kelowna, B.C., and Jennifer Hinze of Vancouver.

One of the most talked about players on the squad is 23-year-old Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont. Pavan is starting her second season on the team. Her first was seven years ago at age 16 when she was the youngest player to be on the national squad.

The 6’5” right side had a standout career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the NCAA winning the 2006 national title and was named the NCAA’s female athlete of the year (all sports combined) in 2007. She has also played professionally in Italy.

“Sarah is an impact player for us,” said Ludwig. “She has a lot of experience and is making a big difference. But the whole team is solid and we are in a way better situation than we were last year.”

The other team members for the Pan Am Cup are: Tonya Mokelki of Weyburn, Sask., Kyla Richey of Roberts Creek, B.C., Tasha Holness of Calgary, Carla Bradstock of Richmond, B.C., Janie Guimond of Bécancour, Que., Julie Young of Red Deer, Alta., and Lauren O'Reilly, Langley, B.C.

The 12-country tournament is split into two pools of six teams for the round robin. Canada, ranked 24th in the world, opens June 18 against world number-six Cuba, followed by number-30 Venezuela on June 19, number-13 the Dominican Republic on June 20, number-one Brazil on June 21 and number-19 Argentina on June 22. The playoffs are June 24-26.

The fourth-ranked Americans are the top seeds in the other pool and are joined by Peru, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia.

“We have a very strong pool and there is no easy opponent,” said Ludwig. “But our preparation has been excellent and we are expecting to do very well.”

The Canadian women are ultimately preparing for the world championships set for October 29-November 14 in Japan.

Canadian roster for the Pan Am Cup women’s volleyball tournament June 19-26 in Tijuana, Mexico.

Players; Tammy Mahon, Holland, Man.; Tonya Mokelki, Weyburn, Sask.; Ashley Voth, Winnipeg; Kyla Richey, Roberts Creek, B.C.; Jennifer Hinze, Vancouver; Marisa Field, Kelowna, B.C.; Tasha Holness, Calgary; Sarah Pavan, Kitchener, Ont.; Carla Bradstock, Richmond, B.C.; Janie Guimond, Bécancour, Que.; Julie Young, Red Deer, Alta.; Lauren O'Reilly, Langley, B.C.

 

Head Coach Arnd Ludwig

Assistant Coach Scott Koskie

Team Manager Diane Scott

Athletic Therapist Ben Trunzo

Statistician David Carrassco