Canada loses senior women’s VCC semifinal to Dominican Republic

Canada's Hilary Howe spikes the ball past Dominican Republic defenders during NORCECA Senior Women's Volleyball Continental Championship semifinal action in Quebec City in this Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023 handout photo. (Canadian Press/HO, Mathieu Belanger/NORCECA)

Canada’s unbeaten ride at the NORCECA senior women’s Volleyball Continental Championship came to a halt Saturday night when the Dominican Republic won the best-of-five semifinal matchup 3-1.

Canada, which went undefeated in winning the Group A round robin pool against Mexico and Puerto Rico, lost 25-27, 22-25, 25-23, 20-25 to the Dominican Republic in an exciting match that took one hour, 43 minutes to complete.

Kiera Van Ryk of Surrey, B.C., led Canada with 25 points, while teammates Alexa Gray and Hilary Howe each had 13 points. Howe also had three blocks.

It wasn’t the result we wanted, but I actually thought we played pretty good volleyball. I thought at no stage did we give up,” said Canada’s head coach Shannon Winzer.

“Everyone who came on court did really well and I thought we battled. It’s hard to lose a game like that knowing we played pretty good volleyball, but Dominican has been playing great volleyball. They were the team that came out on top tonight.”

Although Canada led in attack points (58-53), the Dominican team led in block points (11-8) and ace serves (8-2). Dominican also received more points from Canada’s errors (28-24).

Gaila Gonzalez led the Dominican team’s scoring effort with 16 points (13 attack points; one block and two aces), followed by Yonkaira Peña with 15.

The Dominican Republic will play the United States in Sunday’s championship. The U.S. squad defeated Cuba 25-12, 25-11, 25-16 in the other semifinal on Saturday.

Canada will play Cuba in the third-place final on Sunday.

“We want that bronze,” said Winzer. “Our goal has been top three and we would have liked to be in that gold-medal match, but we’ll take a bronze. Cuba has been playing well, so we have to regroup and refocus.”

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