Re-cap: Team Canada Masters Women Win the Global Cup

The World Global Cup for masters women takes place every two years in St George, Utah. This October four countries took part - Canada, Germany, USA and Venezuela. The tournament is considered the de facto world championship for players over 50.

The Canadian team featured seven former National team players from accross the country from Victoria, BC, to Grand Bay, New Brunswick. Three of which were teammates from the 1984 Olympics Suzette Cooke, Joyce Gamborg and Monica Hitchcock.

The German team had been playing and training together since last November, and were coached by Klaus Drauschke who held nationwide tryouts from Hamburg to Munich to find the best players in Germany, finally choosing twelve athletes. Most of their roster were former professionals and international athletes who had at some time had been on the German National team.

Their team captain, Petra Gielkins, said their aim was to beat the Canadians at the Global Cup since their best previous finish was a silver in 2007. Canada had previously won gold in 2009 against Russia and a silver to Brazil in 2011.

The first two days was a double round robin, and Canada struggled with a two and four record losing twice to both Team Germany and Team USA. Going into the double knockout playoffs Canada was seeded third and faced Team USA who came in with a 4-2 record but had several injured players. In a thriller, Canada won 25-20, 17-25, 17-15. This put Canada in the winners bracket final against the undefeated 7-0 German team. Canada surprised Germany winning the first set 25-19 but Team Germany came back to win the second set 25-21 and in an another thrilling third set, Canada after being down 14-11 sided out and after two service aces by Judy Szepesi went on to win 17-15. That put Canada in the best of five gold medal match awaiting whatever team came around from the back side of the draw.

A large crowd surrounded the main court watched the USA beat Venezuela for the bronze medal and then patiently waited through the pre-match celebrations in anticipation of the Canada-Germany final.

This time the Germans got off to a fast start winning the first set easily 25-11. The crowd however was overwhelmingly cheering for Canada who fought back to win the second set 25-21 but then the Germans took over winning the next two sets 25-17 and 25-21 and the match 3-1. This gave both teams one loss in the double knockout format, which then had to go to a golden "if" game, one set to 25 to determine the Global Cup champion. It turned out to be no contest with Karin Maessen getting a kill and then serving for seven points in a row including three aces and Sherry Saxton-Richards getting several key blocks and hits.

Canada wins the golden set 25-16!

"They are fun to play," said Maessen. "This whole tournament - we're competitive on the court, but as we've gotten older, we're friends off the court. It's such a wonderful atmosphere. It's such good sportsmanship, a lot of fun."

It was an amazing win for the Canadians who took home the gold despite finishing 5-5 in matches and 10-13 in sets proving that it pays to win at the right time. The players were ecstatic and proudly sang “O Canada” as they stood on the podium holding the Global Cup trophy.

"I have never experienced anything like this in my volleyball career,” said Suzette Cooke after the match. "I have been to the Olympics, the World championships, the Pan-American Games, this was very special and very unique and different from all the rest and it’s because of the community here in St George and the hospitality that was shown to us… It took the whole team, players and coaching staff, to win the Global Cup. That is what made it possible and also extra special."

Team Canada Roster:

Catherine Carter, Calgary, Alberta
Hatsue Chow, Vancouver, British Columbia
Suzette Cooke, Calgary, Alberta
Joyce Gamborg, Melville, Saskatchewan
Monica Hitchcock, Grand Bay-Westfield, New Brunswick
Karin Maessen, Victoria, British Columbia
Susan Moncks, Standard, Alberta
Denise Myhre, Duncan, British Columbia
Margaret Negenman, Calgary, Alberta
Sherry Saxton-Richards, Assinbioia, Saskatchewan
Judy Szepesi, Calgary, Alberta

Coaches:

Hugh Bartlett, Grande Prairie, Alberta
George Tokarsky, Edmonton, Alberta

Article submitted by George Tokarsky