Canada beats Thailand 3-1 at Volleyball Nations League tournament

RIO DE JANEIRO — Canada picked up an important victory in Volleyball Nations League action on Saturday night with a 25-21, 25-13, 20-25 and 25-17 over winless Thailand.

Canada, which started the day ranked 11th and trying to nail down an Olympic berth, improved to 3-1 in the VNL competition.

Seven women's teams have already qualified for the Paris Games. The remaining five spots will be filled by the next five best teams at the end of the VNL preliminary phase.

“There are no easy games in this tournament. Tonight, we knew we had to be patient in attack and clean on block. Thailand’s defence was outstanding and made it difficult to score, but our team shared the load tonight to get over the line,” said Canada's head coach Shannon Winzer.

“We couldn’t ask for a better first round and we’ve laid a strong foundation from which we can keep pursuing our goal of qualifying for Paris."

The top scorer of the match was Kiera Van Ryk of Surrey, B.C., who is leading VNL with 85 points in the tournament.

Van Ryk told Volleyball TV: “Obviously we would have liked to do it in three (sets), but Thailand came back and fought hard. … It was up and down and it’s not the cleanest volleyball, but I’m proud of the way we came out and fought to the end and did the job that we needed to do.

"Everyone’s got their job and they are doing it well. It’s a team win."

The teams were even in attack points 53-53, but Canada dominated in block points 13-1; serves 5-3, and Thailand made more crucial errors 24-19.

Canada wraps up the first leg of VNL with an impressive 3-1 record, and next competes in Arlington, Texas, later this month.

Canada’s women’s team beat higher-ranked China on Friday. That win comes on the heels of a win over Dominican Republic on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2024.

The Canadian Press