Canada and the Dominican Republic are just one win away from qualifying for the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in the Netherlands and Poland. The two countries were the first to advance to the semifinals of the 2021 Women’s NORCECA Senior Volleyball Continental Championship in Guadalajara, which will earn its finalists places at next year’s event.
Canadians and Dominicans progress to NORCECA Championship semis
The two teams need another victory to qualify for next year’s World Championship
Published 07:07, 29 Aug 2021
The Canadians, who made their first appearance in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League earlier their year, won their first match in the tournament on Saturday, when they defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 (25-17, 25-22, 24-26, 25-14). Outside hitters Hilary Howe, with 19 points (12 kills, three blocks and four aces), and Vicky Savard, with 16 (13 kills, one block and two aces), led the Canadian offence on a night in which all of the team’s five starting hitters scored in double digits.
“We had a great match, we focused on our side, and we were really aggressive,” Canadian captain Jennifer Cross said. “We made adjustments from yesterday’s game and we played Canadian volleyball. Puerto Rico tried a lot of things, but I think it was more what we did.”
The result caused a triple tie in Pool A, but the Canadians had the advantage in sets average and finished on top, advancing directly to the semifinals. Recently-crowned Olympic champions the United States and Puerto Rico, who also had one win and one loss, will have to play in the quarterfinals.
The Pool B winners were the Dominican Republic, who finished eighth at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this month. The defending champions had a clean record in pool play, winning all three matches and progressing to the semifinals. Hosts Mexico and Costa Rica, second and third in the group, will play in the quarterfinals, while Trinidad & Tobago are eliminated, finishing seventh.
The final match in Pool B, between the Dominicans and the Mexicans on Saturday, determined the pool winners. Playing in front of a loud crowd in Guadalajara, Las Reinas del Caribe (The Queens of Caribbean) pulled out a 3-1 (28-30, 25-19, 25-13, 31-29) victory.
Dominican opposite Gaila Gonzalez was the match’s top scorer with 23 points (18 kills, two blocks and three aces). Star outside hitter Bethania De La Cruz produced 17, with 16 kills and one ace. On the Mexican side, opposite Andrea Rangel with 20 (18 kills and two blocks) and outside hitter Samantha Bricio, with 18 (17 kills, one block), were the top performers.
The quarterfinals, which will see Mexico playing Puerto Rico and the United States meeting Costa Rica, will be played on Sunday and the semifinals on Monday. The medal matches are scheduled for Tuesday.