Canada recovered after losing the first set to upset Croatia 3-1 (23-25, 25-11, 25-11, 25-18) in the first-ever meeting between the two teams in the history of the FIVB World Grand Prix.
Calgary native Alexa Gray led all players with 25 points and now sits atop the tournament’s scoring race with 54 points.
“We still have some problems with the start of the matches, as it happened yesterday. Luckily today we changed and we started to play better,” Canada’s coach Marcello Abbondanza told www.fivb.com.
“Alexa Gray is so important for this team because she’s a very good player even if [she] is not [in] her [natural] position. We ended a great weekend, this [is] the first time we got two victories on the Grand Prix consecutively and that is one more step in our growth. I’m so happy for the girls.”
With today’s match in the books, Canada equalled their record number of wins in a single World Grand Prix campaign.
“I think we made a lot of improvements this weekend. It’s good to see that we can get better and if the team needs me as an opposite or outside hitter, I’m here for everything the coach wants,” Gray said.
“In the past four years, we only won one match on each weekend, so this is a huge record for team Canada. I’m so excited for the upcoming weekends, to keep rolling and growing.”
Kyla Richey was the next highest scoring Canadian in the match adding 19 points in the victory while Katarina Luketić and Lucija Mlinar had 13 and 11 points respectively in a losing effort.
Canada falls to Poland
The Canadians bounced back after being shutout by Poland (25-22, 25-9, 25-23) in their previous match.
Once again, Gray led the Canadian attack with 11 points, followed by Elizabeth Wendel with nine.
Poland got off to a great start in the opening set, taking a commanding 9-2 lead. The Canadians gradually closed the gap getting within 2 points at 23-21 before a service error from the Canucks handed the set to Poland, 25-22
The European side carried a wave of momentum into the second set, dominating Canada from start to finish to win the second set, 25-9.
The two teams engaged in a tight third set. With the score tied at 11, the pressure mounted on Canada as Poland built a four-point lead by the second technical time-out.
The Canadians answered the ball fighting back to knot the set up at 19.
But despite their valiant effort, it was two consecutive unforced errors later in the set that cost Canada the match as Poland capitalized to take the final set, 25-23.