Team Canada made quick work of Mexico in the first women’s volleyball match of the 2019 FISU Summer Universiade, notching a 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-22) victory on Friday afternoon at Palatedeschi in Benevento, Italy.
All three sets started as close battles before Canada found its groove and pulled away.
“I like the composure of our team,” said Canadian head coach Laurie Eisler. “We started pretty tight and made a lot of unforced errors in the beginning but we settled into a routine and found ourselves. Overall it was a pretty good performance.”
Kelsey Veltman spread her name across the stats sheet with six kills, three aces and three blocks. She and Caroline Livingstone led all players with 12 points apiece.
“Kelsey is so critical, and was especially in that first set,” continued Eisler. “Getting on a serving run and letting us score some points and she just has a great presence on the court. She’s such a competitor. I think she helps everyone else relax a little bit.”
“Kelsey is so critical, and was especially in that first set.”
“We played unreal,” said Veltman, who recently signed a pro contract will Volley Millenium Brescia in Italy for the 2019-20 season. “You can really tell that our practice is coming out on the court. This game just proved how well we’ve been working together and I think we really came together today for sure.”
Mexico opened the match by getting out to an early 7-4 lead but the Canadians started to chip away at the deficit. Back-to-back Mexican serving errors sparked two kills and two aces from Veltman en route to a 6-1 run as Canada found themselves up 16-13 at the technical timeout. Mexico evened the set at 18-18 but the Canadians held on for the 25-20 victory.
The second set started as a see-saw battle, tied at 11-11, before Veltman and Hilary Howe combined for four points to lead a 5-0 run into the technical timeout. Canada continued to shine with setter Courtney Baker’s hot serving hand leading a 9-3 streak. Howe secured the 2-0 match lead with a big block to make it 25-14.
It was another back-and-forth battle in the third set but Canada pulled away as they approached the technical timeout, building a 16-11 advantage. Despite a late push from Mexico to bring the set within two, the Red and White held on for the straight-sets victory, 25-22.
Canada (1-0) will head back to Palaedeschi to face Thailand in its second match of Group A action on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. EDT / 6:30 a.m. PDT (2:30 p.m. local).
“The goal is to win the next day so we will do everything in our power to get ready for the next match and be ready for Thailand,” added Eisler.