Canadian volleyball team beaten by Dominican

Dominican Republic players celebrate scoring a point against Canada. (Gwyneth Roberts/AP)

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Canadian women’s volleyball team was beaten by the Dominican Republic in four sets at the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament on Friday — making their chances for a spot at Rio 2016 that much more difficult to obtain.

Canada, ranked 17th in the world, took the first set of the match 27-25 but dropped the next three to the seventh-ranked Dominicans 16-25, 24-26 and 20-25.

"We have a lot of depth on our team and that allows us a lot of changes. Whenever anyone went in, they made a quick change right away but it was a matter of sustaining that," said Canadian captain Brittney Page. "We didn’t do that when we subbed in, we only did it in little bits at a time but we really needed to maintain to pull out the win."

Canada was paced by Tabitha Love with 13 points while Kyla Richey and Dana Cranston each scored 12.

Dominican Republic’s serve proved effective with a 13-5 edge in aces. The Dominicans held a 9-8 margin in blocks and a 61-49 advantage in kills.

The Canadians are now 0-2 at the tournament after losing their opening match against the No. 1 United States on Thursday.

The four-nation tournament winner will earn NORCECA’s berth into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Canada is the lowest seed at the competition, with No. 16 Puerto Rico rounding out the competition.

The tournament winner will join Olympic host Brazil (No. 3 in the world), World Cup winner China (No. 2) and World Cup runner-up Serbia (No. 6) in the 12-country field in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

The second-place finisher goes to an eight-country tournament with more Olympic berths (four) on the line, but with a tougher field than the event where the third-place team will end up (four countries, one Olympic berth).

Canada resumes play on Saturday against Puerto Rico, which opened its tournament with a four-set loss on Thursday to the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico and the U.S were set to face each other later Friday.

"Tomorrow what’s important is that we get a couple sets together," said Canadian coach Arnd Ludwig. "At the end it will probably come down to us against Puerto Rico. We don’t know the results yet, but I assume it’s between us for third place."

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