Laval University PEPS will host the NORCECA Women’s Continental Volleyball Championship from August 29th to September 3rd.
In addition to the Canadians, who are ranked 14th in the world, there are also the Americans, who won Olympic gold in Tokyo. The Dominican Republic, which ranks 9th in the world, is also worth keeping an eye on.
Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean champions) and Costa Rica (Central America champions) will complete the eight-team roster.
The Quebec tournament will be the final preparation ahead of the Olympic qualifiers that will bring together the world’s 24 best in September.
While Canada has done very well in the men’s category, qualifying for the first consecutive Olympics in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021, the women’s team struggled for a long time before achieving the best result in their history at the last World Cup.
Vicky Savard believes Canada is heading in the right direction. The last participation in the games dates back to 1996 in Atlanta, when Josee Corbeil was the youngest player on the team.
“The Paris Games in 2024 are our 100 percent goal and it’s realistic to believe in our chances,” said the former University of Montreal Carabins star player, who has been playing professionally for seven years and is awaiting his visa to return to the Czech Republic.
“In the last two cycles the team has been a bit young and there have been several changes at the top of the group over the last ten years. »
“The team is progressing well and the core is consolidating,” added Savard, who joined the national program in 2021 at the age of 28. Our trainer Shannon Winzer believes in our project and she has recruited girls who have the attitude to achieve the goal. »
Alan Ahac also shares Savard’s enthusiasm.
“Our girls are young and excited and they’re always improving,” said Volleyball Canada’s director of international events.
“10th in the world is their best ever finish and they just missed out on 8th due to a disputed appeal. The Americans are in a class of their own, but we have a good chance of reaching the final. »
The presentation of NORCECA at PEPS could be the first step before an even more prestigious competition. The organizers are targeting the Volleyball Nations League (VNL).
“Quebec has the facilities and a large volleyball community that could facilitate the arrival of such an event,” affirmed Ahac. The tour of the facilities impressed me. »
♦ This interest in volleyball will be highlighted this Friday night when the PEPS is packed with 3,200 spectators for a duel between the Rouge et Or and the University of Sherbrooke Vert & Or.