Heidi Peters scored 34 points to help Canada record their first win in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games women’s sitting volleyball tournament at Makuhari Messe Hall A on Sunday.
Canada posted a 3-1 (25-16, 25-14, 15-25, 25-18) win over Italy, after a hard-fought tiebreaker loss against Brazil on opening day.
The victory gave a morale boost to the two-time Paralympian and her teammates as their efforts in training finally paid dividends.
That was just fricking magic. We really went balls to the wall today, we just hit the ball hard.
– Heidi Peters
“Every day in practice, we serve harder than that at each other, so we know that nobody can do that back to us as hard as we do it ourselves.
“So we just really went out there and tested our game plan and executed it.
“There definitely was a drop there in the third set, you can see for sure the momentum shift that’s reflected in the score.”
Peters’ 34-point haul was built from 23 attacks, three blocks and eight service winners, which was more than half of the team’s total output of 14 from the nine-metre line.
“I would venture to say we are the toughest serving team. That’s something we really pride ourselves on, we’ve worked really hard,” Peters said.
And you can see it out there, we’re just bombing serves from the line, that’s definitely part of our game plan.
“We know that compared to the top teams, we are physically smaller. So we’ve had different strategies, like a lot more tipping.
“It’s about recapturing that aggression, both from the server side and from the attack line, we just really want to hit the ball hard.”
She had 21 markers in the first outing against Brazil, but the loss just made her feel more energised, motivated and rewarded as they bounced back against the European team Italy.
“Adding wins out in games like that, with that energy, it really just put all the pieces together,” the Edmonton native said.
“We know that we can do it and teams don’t expect it of us. We’re not the team that’s the favourite to win, but we know that we can.”