Women volleyballers 2 wins away from Olympics

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:04 PM ET

The Olympic dream is still alive for Canada’s national women’s volleyball team.

Canada swept Mexico in straight sets (25-17, 25-18 and 25-18) on Wednesday night in the quarter-final of the NORCECA Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tijuana, Mexico.

Sarah Pavan led the attack with 21 points, Marissa Field had nine points, captain Tammy Mahon chipped in with eight points and Jennifer Hinze added seven points.

Canada is back in action on Friday against the Dominican Republic.

“I think we match up well against (them),” Mahon said in an e-mail interview on Thursday. “We always have good games against them. We have a few things to adjust to on our serve receive and blocking after seeing them in the round robin. But, other than that, we just need to play free.

“We know them, they know us. It is an ongoing battle between the two teams. To get a victory, we must stick to the game plan and be patient in every rally. The points will be there for the taking. We just have to be patient.”

Back in the 2008 Olympic qualifier in Monterrey, Mexico, Canada upset the Dominican Republic (27-25, 25-17 and 25-19) in the semis but lost to Cuba in the final.

Mahon and Tasha Holness are the only members of the women’s team still on the roster.

“That win is still an extremely proud memory for both Tasha and I,” said Mahon. “It will certainly be mentioned (in meetings). But, I think our confidence for this game will come from the past year of playing against them, specifically the match at Pan Am Games, where we narrowly lost in 5. Our round robin game against them on Monday was also a positive. They could not stop Sarah (Pavan), and if we can just omit the few serve receive errors we gave up, this semi final game is ours.”

Mahon said the team has been overwhelmed by the amazing support from people across Canada during the tournament as they push toward their dream of advancing to the Olympics.

Puerto Rico faces Cuba in the other semi on Friday.

The championship game will be played on Saturday and the winner advances to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.


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