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Canadian women bring perspective and experience to the 2nd Volleyball Nations League season

Many lessons were learned from Canada’s women’s first-ever appearance in the prestigious Volleyball Nations League (VNL) last season. Now the young squad is ready for year no. 2.

Head coach Shannon Winzer announced her 14-man roster Tuesday ahead of this week’s first leg in Shreveport-Bossier City, La., which lasts through Sunday.

Canada will play Poland, Dominican Republic, Olympic champions USA and Korea and then travel to the Philippines for the second leg before returning to Canada for the third game from June 28th to July 3rd at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex, Tsuut’. in a nation.

The 2022 women’s finals will be held in Ankara, Turkey in July.

Apart from the Olympic Games and World Championships, which will take place in the Netherlands this autumn, the Volleyball Nations League is the most important international competition in this sport. Of the 16 teams, 12 are core nations plus four challengers including Canada. The last-placed challenger team is relegated and must compete in the 2022 Women’s Challenger Cup in Croatia to regain their spot.

World No. 18 Canada ended last year with a 3-12 record held in a bubble in Rimini, Italy. The United States was the overall women’s champion in 2021, followed by Brazil and Japan.

CLOCK | Canada beats Serbia in VNL action 2021:

Canada defeated Serbia 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 25-18) at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League tournament in Rimini, Italy on Saturday.

Goal Olympics 2024

The biggest lesson from her very first appearance in VNL was perspective, Winzer said on a recent call to CBC Sports.

“We did a really good job knowing we’re going to make mistakes. It’s a learning curve. I think we’ve done a really good job of doing the simple things well, but when we haven’t always been able to do the big things we say, ‘This is where we are,’ and next year we will make fewer of these mistakes.

“Our goal is the 2024 Olympics and then 2028 and we’re going to be realistic about where we are on our journey and not get into the things that we can’t control and the things that need to happen before that next happen can happen. We did that brilliantly.”

Canada’s women’s volleyball team has not competed in the Olympics since Atlanta 1996.

Canada’s big goals this season are staying in the VNL and getting into the second round of the World Championship. With Olympic qualifiers beginning in fall 2023, Winzer believes they must consistently compete in high-profile competitions to improve.

“Only 12 teams go in the world [to the Olympics] and we’re ranked 18th. These big tournaments aren’t just important to us for ranking points, we’re going to play 12 games this second summer against the best teams in the world. Last year we played 15 games against the best teams in the world. You will improve.”

CLOCK | Canada falls to Belgium at VNL 2021:

Herbots dominates, Belgium defeats Canada in Women’s Nations League

Britt Herbots of Belgium had a whopping 26 points in her 26-24, 25-17, 25-17 straight win over Canada in Rimini, Italy.

Van Ryk, Gray Lead Charge

The current squad is young with an average age of 24. Many of the team’s players have only been playing professionally for two or three years and some are still studying. Winzer sees this as an advantage.

“We’re young and with that there’s a certain fearlessness that’s super exciting to train.”

The Canada roster includes players from last year’s VNL roster with some new faces.

Leading the charge is outstanding underdog Kiera Van Ryk, who finished sixth in the tournament standings last season. The 1.80m Surrey, BC native who won the 2019 U Sports title with the UBC Thunderbirds has enjoyed a successful pro season in Turkey.

Calgary’s Alexa Gray is also enjoying a strong professional season in Italy with Busto. Gray, a former All-American at Brigham Young University, had some injury struggles in the VNL last season but is fit and offers versatility in attack.

All 2022 VNL games will be streamed live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports App and CBC Gem. Select games will also be broadcast on CBC TV, including Saturday’s match against Olympic champions USA at 4:00 p.m. ET.

The Canada men’s roster will be released before the team kicks off its June 7 campaign in Ottawa.

Complete ladies list

  • Brie King, Surrey, BC;
  • Courtney Baker, Bridgewater, NS;
  • Jennifer Cross (Captain), Scarborough, Ontario;
  • Emily Maglio, Coquitlam, BC;
  • Jazmine White, Oshawa, Ontario;
  • Allyssah Fitterer, Georgetown, Ontario;
  • Hilary Howe, Calgary, Alta.;
  • Andrea Mitrovic, Mississauga, Ontario;
  • Alexa Gray, Calgary;
  • Caroline Livingston, Kelowna, BC;
  • Kiera Van Ryk, Surrey;
  • Sydney Grills, Vancouver;
  • Kat Georgiadis, Scarborough;
  • Julia Murman, Toronto.

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