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Serbia bumps off Canada in Olympic volleyball qualification tournament

NINGBO, China — Canada's hopes of qualifying for a women's volleyball berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics took a big hit as powerhouse Serbia flexed its muscle in an Olympic qualification tournament on Monday night.

Serbia defeated Canada 25-19, 25-17, 25-21.

"Serbia is number three in the world for a reason and are an incredibly physical team, but I don't think we had our best performance today," said Canadian head coach Shannon Winzer.

"Our blocking and defence were disjointed and I think, at times, we played within ourselves instead of the competitive aggressive team that you’ve gotten used to seeing," said Winzer.

Serbia dominated in its attack (45-32) and serving points (8-1) and had the edge over Canada in blocking points (9-7). Serbia lost four more points to errors than Canada.

Tijana Boskovic of Serbia led the scoring with 25 points, including four aces. Serbia held off Canada’s typically effective attackers, with Alexa Gray, Kiera Van Ryk and Hilary Howe each only scoring nine points on Monday.

Serbia is 3-0 in Pool A of the tournament, while Canada is 1-2. Canada plays China on Wednesday. The top two teams in each pool qualify for the Paris Games.

"We face China, another top team, and we have to go back to finding confidence in our style of play and the things that we know we can do well," said Winzer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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