Determined defensive effort boosts Canada

KEN WIEBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:00 AM ET

Once the nerves subsided and the passing improved, Canada powered its way to victory.

Thanks to a determined defensive effort and an ability to keep points alive through pure hustle, Canada ultimately found its rhythm and rolled past Costa Rica in straight sets, 25-18, 25-16 and 25-18, before a crowd of roughly 1,000 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre last night to get off to a strong start in the 2007 NORCECA Women's Continental Volleyball Championship.

"We won the big points and big rallies and kind of controlled the pace of the game," said Team Canada left side Stacey Gordon, who had nine points in the match and showcased a powerful serve. "It's expected that you have a little pre-game jitters in front of the home crowd but we shook it off pretty fast. It was a pretty solid game to start off with. We were in control of the match the whole time."

REALLY GOOD JOB

"We did a really good job of keeping the energy level where we wanted it," added right-side Tiffany Dodds, who led Canada with 11 points.

Tammy Mahon of Holland, Man. also chipped in nine points for Canada, while Costa Rica's Karen Pope led all scorers with 16 points.

Canada will attempt to improve to 2-0 tonight at 8 p.m. in what figures to be a tough match-up against Puerto Rico.

"This was good for our confidence," said Team Canada head coach Naoki Miyashita.

The Canadians have not beaten Puerto Rico the past two years, but that statistic won't be foremost on their minds when they step onto the court.

"You have that in the back of your head, but we know them and know what they're going to bring," said Gordon. "You can't focus on the past. We're here and we're here to play hard and win games."

NET NOTES: Canada's 12th-ranked men's national team improved to 2-0 at the 2007 NORCECA Championships in Anaheim, Calif. yesterday with a straight-sets victory over Trinidad & Tobago (25-14, 25-14 and 25-10). Right-side Dallas Soonias led a balanced Canadian attack with 10 points. Canada, which swept the Dominican Republic in its first match, faces Cuba in its final round robin game this afternoon and the playoffs begin tomorrow.


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