Canadian women nearly upset Britain at international sitting volleyball tournament

AYLESBURY, EnglandCanada’s national women’s sitting volleyball tournament nearly pulled off a major upset on Friday losing in five sets to Britain in the semifinal at the Harper’s Invitational being held here at Stoke Mandeville, the birth place of Paralympic sport.

After losing their four matches in round robin play (twice to Britain and twice to the Netherlands), the Canadians delivered their best match in the semifinal falling 25-8, 26-28, 25-19, 23-25, 18-16.

‘’It was truly heartbreaking and that result could have easily gone the other way,’’ said Kerry MacDonald, Volleyball Canada’s disabled programs coordinator. ‘’That is the best match 

that our women have played to date."

In men’s competition, the Canadians also had an encouraging performance despite dropping their semifinal to Britain on Friday, 26-24, 25-13, 25-11. While they also lost their four round robin games they did snare a set off the British in their two matches.

"Although the result on the score sheets has been less than ideal it is important for us to continue to focus on the process and realize that significant technical and tactical improvements have been made within a short time,’’ added MacDonald.

The Dutch defeated Britain in both the men’s and women’s finals later Friday for the gold.

Both Canadian teams arrived here last Saturday for a week of training and competition. Canada has a busy season ahead as it tried to land a berth for the 2012 Paralympic Games.

"This week has been a tremendous learning experience for both of our teams and the lessons learned will definitely help our preparations for Paralympic qualification in the fall,’’ said MacDonald.   ‘’The Great Britain Volleyball programs have been fantastic hosts and I hope we have established a working partnership that will continue in the future."