September 12, 2003 - The Canadian national Women’s Volleyball team departs on Friday for the 2003 NORCECA Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The tournament, which runs from September 14 to 19, will see the top two teams qualify for the 2003 World Cup to be held in Japan this November.
The top three finishing teams at the World Cup will then qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. "There are teams in this competition that will be difficult to defeat, but there are also teams that are beatable. Our NORCECA zone is strong within the international Volleyball fraternity so every win is positive," said head coach Lorne Sawula. "I am looking forward to the NORCECA Championship as our team has trained hard. We have had to adjust our training to accommodate the change of dates, but in spite of this we feel that we are prepared.
"Sarah Pavan has rejoined the team and I look forward to her getting a chance to play on the right side. She is one of those special athletes who is gaining valuable international experience. Also on the roster are Tammy Mahon, Julie Salyn, and Cheryl Stinson, who have improved while leading Canada at the recent FISU Games in Korea."
Representing Canada at the NORCECA Championships will be: Setters: Anne-Marie Lemieux, Gina Schmidt. Libero: Annie Lévesque. Middle Blockers: Stephanie Wheler, Mélissa Raymond, Lies Verhoeff, Cheryl Stinson. Right Side Hitters: Sarah Pavan, Julie Salyn, Power Hitters: Barb Bellini, Amy Tutt, Tammy Mahon.
Canada, who is currently ranked 24th in the world, will play in Group A against Trinidad & Tobago (70th), Dominican Republic (15th), and Puerto Rico (19th).
Group B consists of Cuba (5th), Costa Rica (31st), USA (3rd), and Mexico (27th).