Canadians show improvement at sitting volleyball world championships

EDMOND, Oklahoma – Canada’s men’s and women’s teams lost its matches on Tuesday morning at the 23-country sitting world volleyball championships but continued to show improvement in what is a first major international experience for the Canadian players.

“The German coach came to me afterwards and said they were in the same situation as us three years ago,” said Larry Matthews, head coach of the Canadian women’s squad, which lost 25-12, 25-12, 25-8 to the Germans to drop to 0-3 in round robin play so far.

‘’He told me that we just have to be patient. He was impressed with our girls. We played with a lot of energy.’’

Karen McKoy of Lincoln, N.B., one of the first ever players named to the Team Canada squad in 2007 says it important for the players to enjoy this experience.

‘’The tournament so far has been a real treat for us,’’ said McKoy, 48, a member of the Canadian military who served in Bosnia. However her injury was not military-related, she lost a leg to cancer. ‘’Everyone has got a very positive attitude and for me it’s great to see that we’re starting to have a base to work with  for the future.’’

Danielle Ellis of White Rock, B.C., was equally enthusiastic. The Canadians struggled on Monday night in a loss to Lithuania and the goal on Tuesday was to deliver a positive performance.

‘’We had a good team meeting after last night’s match,’’ said Ellis. ‘’And today on the court our communication was better, our first ball contact was better and everyone played at a stronger level.’’

The other women team members are Chantal Beauchesne of St-Isidore, Ont., Allison Lang of Edmonton, Leaha Hickman of Lashburn, Sask., Jolan Brunner of Vermilion, Alta., Jordan Funnel of White Rock, B.C., Amber Skyrpan of Wandering River, Alta., and Tanja Hodzic of Vancouver and Krista McDonald of Kinuso, Alta.

In men’s competition Canada lost 25-6, 25-10, 25-22 to China to stand at 1-1.

‘’The score indicates a bit of a blowout but we didn’t play that bad,’’ said Ian Halliday, head coach of the Canadian men’s team. ‘’The Chinese ran an offence at a speed that we had never seen before and it took us two sets to adjust. In the third set it was a different game and the set could had gone either way.’’

The men’s team members are Chad Drummond, Austin Hinchey and Doug Learoyd, all of Edmonton, Jose Rebelo of St-Hubert, Que., Kevin Strybosch of London, Ont., Eric Dechaine of St. Lina, Alta., Wilfredo Morewilson of Toronto, Mikael Bartholdy of Calgary and Greg Stewart of Kamloops, B.C.

Round robin action continued Tuesday night for both Canadian teams. The men took on Paralympic champions Bosnia- Herzegovina while the women challenged the U.S.