The dream of playing in the Summer Olympics this July in London came to a close for Roberts Creek’s Kyla Richey and her Team Canada teammates May 4 in Mexico.
Canada lost in straight sets to the Dominican Republic in the semifinal at the Olympic qualifying tournament.
Canada finished fourth overall after losing a five-set match to Puerto Rico a day later in the bronze medal game.
Canada went 1-2 in the round robin, losing to Puerto Rico and the Dominicans before hammering Honduras to gain a playoff berth. The Canadians looked impressive Wednesday in a quarterfinal victory over Mexico, but ran into a Dominican squad that was firing on all cylinders.
The last Olympic appearance for Canada in women’s volleyball was in 1996.
“Well, it’s pretty devastating not getting the results that we wanted,” said Richey. “Everyone was really crushed after our semifinal game, especially after having such a solid performance a couple days earlier when we played Mexico. We had a really great path to the finals, but unfortunately weren’t able to pull out the win against the Dominican Republic. However, it’s very exciting to know that we can compete with these teams.”
Richey said the national team is loaded with talent and the results show they can be right up there with the best in the world.
“It was just unfortunate timing this year, after they postponed the qualifiers from January to April/May, as well as not getting any funding to keep the girls training in Winnipeg for those few months before the qualifier,” she said.
“You never know what could have happened if we had the chance to practise with each other for a few months, instead of a few weeks. But given the circumstances, I’m still proud of what my team has accomplished in the past four years especially. There are a few girls retiring now, after not qualifying, so it’s going to be an exciting four years with new faces coming into the program, and working hard toward the next Olympics in 2016.”
— With files from Team Canada Volleyball