Canada reached the semifinals and claimed a spot in the NORCECA Olympic qualifier next January after defeating Mexico 3-1 (25-20, 29-31, 25-17, 25-20) at the NORCECA Continental Championship in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Friday.
It was a win for Langley-based Trinity Western’s women’s volleyball team as well, with Spartans Hilary Howe and Langley’s Brie King on the team as well as former Spartans Alicia Perrin and Kristen Moncks, along with TWU men’s volleyball coach Ben Josephson,
Howe and King both represented Canada on multiple occasions this summer, with Howe donning the Maple Leaf at the Summer Universiade, the Pan American Games and NORCECA Champions Cup and King playing with Canada at the Pan Am Cup, the Intercontinental Olympic Volleyball Qualification tournament and the NORCECA Champions Cup.
Perrin and Moncks both played in the FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup, the Pan Am Cup, the Olympic Volleyball Qualification tournament and the NORCECA Champions Cup and Moncks also competing in the Pan Am Games.
It says a lot for the quality of players at TWU, Spartans coach Ryan Hofer observed.
“They’re not graduating burnt out and ready to move on, but instead they’re actually excited and passionate to pursue that next level – and they have the skill level to play at that high level. And to be so close in proximity, with the Canadian team training in Richmond, Canada being able to come and access us is a huge benefit.”
For Howe, who will return to the Spartans following the Continental Championship, the opportunity has her playing alongside Canada’s best, joining a group of players who will largely make up the squad that will eventually look to qualify for the Olympics in January 2020.
“I’m really excited that this opportunity came about,” Howe said. “It’s obviously amazing to be part of this team and because we run a similar style at TWU to what Canada does, it’s made for an easier transition.”
King will transition to the professional game for the 2019-20 season, having signed with DSC Volleyball Damen in Dresden, Germany.
“I want to really contribute to Team Canada and see how far we can go,” King said. “This summer has been crazy. And now playing professionally and playing regularly with Canada has been incredible.”
In Canada’s tournament opener at the NORCECA Championship, King started all four sets, finishing with 27 running sets, as she helped lead her team to a four-set victory.
In Canada’s second match, Howe started two of the three sets for Canada against Costa Rica, finishing third among Canadian scorers, with 10 points in a 3-0 win.