Thailand (THA) vs. Canada (CAN) women - Pool 2 - Preliminary Phase #15672498

Kiera Van Ryk and Brie O'Reilly were key pieces in the Canadian success in Rio

Canada completed their match schedule in the opening week of the Volleyball Nations League 2024 on Saturday with the feeling of mission accomplished as they entered the qualification zone for the Paris Olympics after their victory over Thailand. China and the Dominican Republic also triumphed in the fifth day of action in Rio de Janeiro.

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The Canadians got to celebrate a win for a third-straight day at the Maracanãzinho on Saturday as, after triumphs against the Dominican Republic and China on Thursday and Friday respectively, they downed Thailand 3-1 (25-21, 25-13, 20-25, 25-17).

Looking to return to the Olympics for the first time since Atlanta 1996, the Canadians benefited from the 3.69 points earned with their victory over the Asians and the 7.12 points dropped by the Netherlands earlier on Saturday in Antalya following their three-set loss to Poland to pass the Europeans in the FIVB World Rankings, becoming the fourth team not yet qualified to appear in the list, now inside the qualification zone, in tenth place.

With 290.69 points, Canada added as many as 24.95 this week in Rio, taking full advantage of the first week of matches of the VNL 2024. They are guaranteed to start the second week of the Preliminary Phase inside the qualification zone even if the Netherlands (282.19) sweep Germany in their last match in Antalya on Sunday as the result would give them just 6.98 points.

Thailand (THA) vs. Canada (CAN) women - Pool 2 - Preliminary Phase #15672490

Maglio benefited from her height advantage to dominate the net with ten kills and four blocks

Opposite Kiera Van Ryk was Canada’s top scorer in the match with 22 points (21 kills, one block). Middle blocker Emily Maglio, with 14 points, and outside hitter Alexa Gray, with 13, also got to double digits in scoring.

“We obviously wanted to have won it in three, but Thailand came back, fought hard and they played well,” Van Ryk commented. “We had to come back in the fourth set and we started really well, which gave us a little bit of a gap to work with. I’m proud of how we came back, fought until the end and did the job we needed to do. This is probably one of the best weeks we’ve ever had in the VNL and we’re hoping to build off of that and do even better on the next one. We’re getting the points we need to get and continuing to get wins will hopefully take us there.”

Thailand, who are still looking for their first victory in the VNL 2024 after three matches, were led by their outside hitters as Chatchu-On Moksri registered 16 points and Wipawee Srithong scored ten.

Blocking was the biggest difference between the teams in the match as while Canada registered 13 stuffs, Thailand produced just one – the winners also led in aces by five to three.

China bounce back against Serbia

After losing their third match in Rio to Canada on Friday, China rebounded on Saturday and downed world champions Serbia 3-1 (21-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-18) earlier on Saturday to complete the first week with three wins and one loss.

The result helped the Asians’ Olympic qualification campaign by adding 8.42 points to their total, moving them up to sixth place in the World Rankings with 337.12. They passed exactly Serbia, who had a significant fall, starting the day in third and ending it in seventh, but are already qualified for Paris 2024.

One of the keys to the Chinese victory was their diversified offense, which saw middle blocker Wang Yuanyuan and outside hitter Li Yingying produce 19 points each and opposite Gong Xiangyu add another 18. Serbian opposite and captain Ana Bjelica led all scorers with 25 points.

Also on Saturday, the Dominican Republic claimed their second victory in three matches by taking down Korea 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-20). The result gave the Caribbean 1.28 points in the World Rankings, keeping them in ninth place, and also marginally affected the Asians, who continue in 42nd place.

Korea (KOR) vs. Dominican Republic (DOM) women - Pool 2 - Preliminary Phase #15663399

Alondra Tapia (8) scored 11 points as the Dominican Republic swept Korea

Outside hitter Brayelin Martínez and opposite Alondra Tapia led the Dominican offense with 11 points apiece while Korean outside hitter Ji-Yun Jeong was the match’s most productive player with 12.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Pool 2 will have its last matches in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, with Brazil facing Serbia at 10:00 local time (13:00 GMT), the USA meeting the Dominican Republic at 14:00 local time (17:00 GMT) and Thailand playing Korea at 17:30 local time (20:30 GMT).

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