Trinity Western University setter Kelci French will be playing volleyball for Canada in Mexico next week.
French was named to Canada's 12-player roster for the NORCECA Olympic qualification tournament, to be held in Tijuana April 29 to May 5.
On Monday, Volleyball Canada announced the roster that will compete for a spot in the 2012 Summer Games in London.
French was one of two setters who will represent the red and white. Canada, ranked No. 22 in the world, must win the tournament to guarantee itself a spot in the Olympics.
The last time the Canadians competed at the Olympic Games was 1996 in Atlanta, where they tied for ninth.
"Representing Canada in an attempt to qualify for the Olympics is something that I've been dreaming about since I was a little girl," French said. "This is such an amazing opportunity and I am just so grateful and excited to be a part of it. Winning this tournament won't be easy for anyone but I definitely think it is something we are capable of doing. No games will be easy but we'll just have to come out strong, trust our preparation, and play our best."
French, who will be going into her second year with the Spartans this fall but third year of CIS eligibility - having played with Alberta in 2008/09 when she captured CIS Rookie of the Year honours - is quite familiar with the national program. She trained at the full-time centre in Winnipeg in the two years prior to coming to Trinity Western.
In her first year with the Spartans, French, who was largely used as an outside hitter while occasionally spelling now graduated fifth-year Chelsea Hudson at the setting position, was fourth on the team in points, averaging 2.25 per set.
She also registered the second most digs on the team with 2.53 per set and the second most aces, with 27.
French also had 1.92 assists and 1.54 kills per set.
"Going back to setting full time feels a little bit like coming home," French said. "It really is where my heart lies. I love being able to be a hitter and, in a perfect world, I always think it's fun to do both, but coming back to setting has me really excited about the upcoming season and I'm looking forward to having the whole summer to improve and just play a lot of volleyball."
Also named to Team Canada's 12-player roster were leftside hitters Tammy Mahon (Holland, Man.), Tonya Mokelki (Weyburn, Sask.), Liz Cordonier (Vancouver), and Kyla Richey (Vancouver); middle blockers Jennifer Hinze (Vancouver), Marisa Field (Vancouver), and Tasha Holness (Calgary); right-side hitters Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, Ont.) and Brittney Page (Vernon); setter Jaclyn Ellis (Mississauga, Ont.); and libero Julie Young (Red Deer, Alta.).
Canada is in a round-robin pool with the Dominican Republic (ranked No. 9), Puerto Rico (No. 19) and Honduras (No. 69).
If Canada is successful in those matches, it would then cross over to the second round to face one of Cuba (No. 10), Mexico (No. 27), Costa Rica (No. 28), or Trinidad & Tobago (No. 34) in the quarter-final.
Canada's schedule for NORCECA Olympic qualification tournament:
April 29: round robin match No. 1 - Canada vs. Puerto Rico
April 30: round robin match No. 2 - Canada vs. Dominican Republic
May 1: round robin match No. 3 - Canada vs. Honduras
May 2: quarter-finals
May 4: semifinals
May 5: final
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