Canada suffers heartbreaking loss to host Poland at women’s volleyball worlds

Canada’s third match at the FIVB women’s volleyball world championship Phase 2 ended up in a failed comeback bid and a disappointing 3-2 loss to host Poland in Łódź on Friday.

The Canadian side found itself in a position to capture the win in the fourth set, but the attempt to win three straight sets after dropping the first one fell short.

Head coach Shannon Winzer’s team lost the opening frame 18-25, but managed to edge out the loud support of the home fans to mount a comeback at 2-1 with commanding 25-19 and 25-16 wins in the second and third sets, respectively.

“We were able to put Poland under a lot of pressure and that’s what saw us through to a fifth set,” said head coach Shannon Winzer. “Our performance in the fifth set is not a reflection of how we played that game. We had a strong showing against a very strong side.

“Poland is playing confident volleyball right now,” added Winzer.

A 23-25 loss followed, however, helping the Polish squad recover its confidence and take the tie breaker, 15-5.

“As much as it’s not the result we wanted, there are still a lot of positives to take from this match,” Winzer said.

Kiera Van Ryk, of Surrey, B.C., led Canada with 21 points. Calgary’s Alexa Gray added 20. Fellow Calgarian Hilary Howe tallied in double digits as well, with 14.

Howe scored three block points, a team-high in the match that served as half of Canada’s.

Magdalena Stysiak had 25 points to lead the hosts. The 21-year-old had five block points. Kamila Witkowska and Agnieszka Korneluk, who added 15 and 12 points, respectively, registered six block points each, helping Poland edge Canada 20 to 6 in the stat.

The heartbreak defeat left some of the Canadian players looking disenchanted and worn out, a few laying in the court, after the match.

Canada dropped to 1-2 in Phase 2 play with one game to go, a match-up against the Dominican Republic at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday. The game will be streamed live on, the free CBC Sports App and CBC Gem.

Canada’s quarter-final chances dim

Poland improved to 5-3, currently holding a quarter-final spot at fourth place in the Pool F. Canada (4-4) is sixth, right behind the Dominican Republic (4-4).

The four best-ranked nations from each Phase 2 pool will advance to the knockout stage. Serbia (8-8), the U.S. (6-2) and Turkey (6-2) are the best-performing squads in Canada’s pool so far.

Italy, Brazil, Japan and China are currently in the qualifying positions in the Pool E, which games are held in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The Canadian squad beat Thailand 3-1 on Tuesday to kick start its Phase 2 campaign on a high note before being blanked by Turkey 3-0 on Wednesday.

In the first phase, the Canadian women lost to Serbia, the U.S., and Germany, having topped Kazakhstan and Bulgaria.

Canada is cruising in uncharted territory in the tournament, having never made to the second stage before the current edition.

WATCH l Van Ryk, Gray continue to impress as Canada’s stars:

Offensive stars highlight Canada’s roster at 2022 Women’s Volleyball World Championship

Kiera Van Ryk and Alexa Gray will be the key to Canada’s success at the 2022 Women’s Volleyball World Championship in Poland and the Netherlands.

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