Lausanne, Switzerland, September 30, 2017 - Canada and Cuba have both booked tickets to the 2018 FIVB Women's World Championship with a day to spare in the first of three North & Central America and the Caribbean (NORCECA) qualifiers at the Vancouver suburb of Langley.
Both scored their second win in as many games in the four-team round robin tournanemt and secured the two qualifying spots on Friday. They go head-to-head on the closing day of the tournament Saturday, but that's only for bragging rights to first place in the pool.
At the 2018 World Championship Cuba and Canada join hosts Japan, defending champions USA plus the already qualified teams of Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Italy, Azerbaijan, Germany, The Netherlands and Bulgaria from Europe, Brazil from South America, and China, Kazakhstan, Korea and Thailand from Asia.
On Friday in Langley Cuba shut out Saint Lucia 3-0 (25-6, 25-6, 25-12) in 57 minutes with top scoring honours shared between Dalila Palma and Laura Suarez on 10 points each.
"Our main goal here is to develop our players for competition," said Cuab coach Wilfredo Robinson Pupo post-match. "Some are very young and we’re hoping to give them experience.Tomorrow’s match [vs Canada] will be a tougher match and a very exciting match for the volleyball fans watching."
Canada wrapped up the day's play with a 3-0 (25-13 25-10, 25-8) sweep of Nicaragua in 61 minutes. The hosts were led by Marie-Alex Belanfer who scored 17 points and Alexa Lea Gray who added 16.
"Tonight was very important because we took the qualification and we played good volleyball," said Canada's Italian coach Marcello Abbondanza after the game. "Now the big challenge is tomorrow against Cuba – we are already both qualified, but I think tomorrow is important for us to show how we have progressed and to demonstrate some good volleyball to the Canadian fans."
Hosts Canada followed up with an all-single-digit score of 3-0 (25-8, 25-8, 25-8) over Saint Lucia in 54 minutes, with middle blocker Alicia Ogoms leading the scoring on 13 points.
"I appreciate the spirit in which St. Lucia played; I think they tried to give everything they had and this is what sport is about," said Canada's Italian coach Marcello Abbondanza after the game. "I think my team was focused and just tried to play our best volleyball. Tomorrow we have Nicaragua and we have to try to have our best to qualify for the World Championships. Then we can think about Cuba (on Saturday)."Nicaragua's Maryuri Lisseth Torres Tobie gets the ball past Canada's block of Alissa Coulter and Alicia Perrin in Langley.
Competition in Langley concludes Saturday.Day 3 schedule, Saturday 30 September:
17:30 (00:30 Saturday GMT) Saint Lucia v Nicaragua
20:00 (03:00 Saturday GMT) Canada v Cuba
Four more NORCECA tickets for the 2018 FIVB Women's World Championship will be handed out next month, when the Dominican Republic host Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Guatemala in Santo Dominigo, and Trinidad & Tobago host Mexico and Costa Rica in Port of Spain. Both these tournaments are scheduled for 13-15 October.
The three NORCECA qualifiers are part of the 2017 Senior Women's Continental Championship.
More information, including full calendar, live scoring, statistics and pictures, is available on the NORCECA website
Live streaming is available atwww.cbcsports.ca
.Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship 2018FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship 2018FIVB.com - VolleyballFIVB.com
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