IT had been a while, but the national women's volleyball team got a taste of some competition Tuesday night. Team Canada defeated Peru 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 25-18) at Investors Group Athletic Centre.
In the first set, the Canadians started strong while taking the lead and never looking back. Although Peru threatened by staying involved and within two or three points, they couldn't gain any ground. The Canadians strung up some unanswered points late in the set to gain a 23-17 lead. Both teams exchanged two points each to close out the set 25-19 in Canada's favour.
Peru picked up their only set of the night, coming back from a deficit and keeping a point lead on Canada for the majority of the set. While Canada was close, Peru had enough control on the court to win 25-23.
Canada got to a hot start in the third set, leading by six points. However, Peru fought back to get to within a point at 23-22. Canada's Jaimie Thibeault secured the third set. Her spike put Canada up 24-22 and a few plays later, she blocked an incoming Peru attack at the net to take the set at 25-23 and a 2-1 Canada lead.
Canada started the fourth set in similar fashion to the third, rushing out to a 5-2 lead but allowed Peru back in at 6-6. Canada slipped back ahead at the second technical timeout of the set, leading 16-14 and would go on a strong run to close the set out at 25-18 and take the match.
Canadian coach Arnd Ludwig did not have any set expectations going into the game and was just looking to see what his young Canadian team is capable of. Some of the women on his roster hadn't seen game action for two months.
"It was exciting for them to finally get on the court and use everything they've practised," Ludwig said. "I know that we are a little better than what we showed, but it is our first game so it's OK. Sometimes we were a little bit passive, especially in that second set. We were holding back a little, but we showed what we can do in the third and fourth set again."
The exhibition series serves Canada as preparation for the NORCECA Continental Championship in Omaha, Neb., Sept. 16-21.
Canada and Peru will play again tonight, this time in Dauphin at the Dauphin Regional Comprehensive Secondary School at 7 p.m. Volleyball fans will have one more opportunity to see the national women's team at Investors Group Athletic Centre, Friday at 7 p.m.
Tonight's game will be special for Canadian player Tabi Love, who will get to represent the national team in her hometown.
"I've heard they've sold all 500 tickets and there's only standing room left, so that's really exciting," she said. "I've never gotten to play with the national team in Dauphin before. Everybody is so excited, I'm so excited and it should be great."