Canadian women take first loss at Olympic volleyball qualifier to Dominican Republic

NINGBO, China — Canada suffered its first defeat in an Olympic women's qualification volleyball tournament, falling in five sets to the Dominican Republic on Sunday.

Canada lost 25-17, 22-25, 23-25, 25-18, 15-12 in its second game of the 24-country event.

The Canadians were coming off a five-set win over the Netherlands on Saturday. The Dominicans entered the contest after dropping a five-set match to Czechia.

The top two teams in each pool of eight qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Canada's women last played in an Olympic volleyball tournament in Atlanta in 1996.

Canada is set to face Serbia on Monday night.

Along with Serbia, China is the only other undefeated team in Pool A at 2-0. Canada, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic and Czechia are each 1-1, while Ukraine and Mexico are winless.

"Today was a tough loss against Dominican," Canada head coach Shannon Winzer said. "These games come down to small things in key moments and they finished out on top today.

"We face Serbia next and will keep working to find consistency in attack against another physical team."

Calgary's Alexa Gray paced Canada with 25 points, while Kiera Van Ryk of Surrey, B.C., added another 23.

Gaila Gonzalez led the Dominican side with 25 points.

The Dominicans, who recently won gold at the Continental Championship, led in attack points (79-58) and blocks (10-5).

Canada, meanwhile, led in aces (6-3) and points off opponent errors (28-18).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 17, 2023.

The Canadian Press