Canada into women's semifinals at sitting volleyball worlds after slow start vs. Italy

After a 26-24 first-set loss to Italy on Wednesday, Canada found its game, reeled off three straight set wins and will face Slovenia in semifinal action at the world championships on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET. (Submitted by World ParaVolley - image credit)
After a 26-24 first-set loss to Italy on Wednesday, Canada found its game, reeled off three straight set wins and will face Slovenia in semifinal action at the world championships on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET. (Submitted by World ParaVolley - image credit)

The Canadian women's sitting volleyball team has clinched a semifinal berth at the world championships and will depart Bosnia and Herzegovina with its best-ever finish.

After Wednesday's 26-24 first-set loss to Italy, Canada found its game, reeled off three straight set wins and will face Slovenia on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET.

"Italy is a tough opponent, and we knew we would have to work hard and play our systems," Canada captain Danielle Ellis of White Rock, B.C., told Volleyball Canada.

"We had a slow start but were able to pick up the pace and find our game. Now it's time to build from today in search of a medal."

Before placing fourth at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, Canada was 12th at the 2010 world championships and sixth in 2018.

On Saturday, the sixth-ranked club opened the tournament with a five-set victory over No. 10 Slovenia by scores of 25-18, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22 in Sarajevo.

The Canadian men will battle Poland for 11th place on Thursday at 5:30 a.m. ET after being swept by Iraq (25-17, 25-22, 25-19).

"It was a disappointing result with the chance to play for top 10 in the tournament," said team captain Doug Learoyd. "Credit to Iraq as they served very tough.

"On the flip side, we have several new, young players who are at their first international tournament and are playing well. We'll shift our focus forward to tomorrow and look to finish the tournament with a win."

All matches are being streamed live on World ParaVolley's YouTube channel.

Canada women's roster

  • #2 Julie Kozun — Melfort, Sask.

  • #3 Danielle Ellis (C) — White Rock, B.C.

  • #4 Jennifer Oakes — Calgary

  • #5 Payden Vair — Cardston, Alta.

  • #6 Angelena Dolezar — St. Albert, Alta.

  • #7 Anne Fergusson — Carleton Place, Ont.

  • #8 Jolan Wong — Vermilion, Alta.

  • #9 Sarah Melenka — Vegreville, Alta.

  • #10 Jayme Lepp — Vancouver

  • #11 Heidi Peters — Neerlandia, Alta.

  • #14 Katelyn Wright — Edmonton

  • #15 Felicia Voss-Shafiq — Burnaby, B.C.

  • #16 Jennifer McCreesh — Smithers, B.C.

  • #17 Allison Lang — Edmonton

Canada men's roster

  • #2 Mikael Bartholdy — Calgary

  • #3 Austin Hinchey — Edmonton

  • #5 Nasif Chowdhury — Toronto

  • #6 Bryce Foster — Thunder Bay, Ont.

  • #7 Douglas Learoyd (C) — Calgary

  • #9 Andrew Tucker — Brampton, Ont.

  • #10 Christopher Bird — Brandon, Man.

  • #11 José Rebelo — Saint-Hubert, Que.

  • #13 Dariusz Symonowicz — Toronto

  • #14 Connor Compton — Calgary

  • #19 Jason Beaman — Vancouver