May 16, 2013, Gatineau, Que. (ISN) – Louis-Pierre Mainville and Dustin Schneider put injury plagued seasons aside and aced their first test for 2013 helping Canada to a 21-25, 25-23, 25-19, 16-25, 15-12 victory over Turkey Wednesday night in a men’s volleyball friendly match.
It was the season opening match for the Canadians who are tuning up for the six-week FIVB World League Tournament which starts May 31 in Quebec.
Mainville from Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot, Que., played the last three sets and delivered a strong performance with eight points. Knee surgery two years ago and an ankle sprain in 2012 have kept Mainville off the court for almost the entire past two seasons.
”I’m very satisfied with my performance tonight,” said Mainville. ”It was great to be back on the court with my teammates and my friends. It was what I needed. The injuries were a real setback for me but last year I made sure I took the time to fully recover. I’ve been training hard since January and I feel I’ve regained all my skills.”
Schneider, who plays setter, played in all five sets earning two points and led the Canadian team with 20 serves making only two errors. Like Mainville, Schneider also had surgery in 2011 and the road back has been difficult the past two seasons.
”Tonight’s match was a big test physically for me,” said Schneider, from Brandon, Man. ”I was able to go the whole game, not feel any pain and get the win. I’m happy.”
For head coach Glenn Hoag having two established veterans such as Mainville and Schneider on the squad could be a big boost.
”These guys are battlers, they have come back from major injuries that potentially could have ended their careers,” said Hoag. ”To see their determination to come back and play as they did today is a real inspiration to their teammates.”
Hoag provided playing time to his 12 players on Wednesday and was satisfied with the outcome.
”The guys are just coming back from their winter seasons in Europe so the synchronism isn’t quite there yet,” he said. ”The guys were a bit hesitant and we didn’t manage some situations properly. But we kept our concentration and showed a lot of stability.”
Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon led the Canadians with 18 points while Fred Winters of Victoria added 10.
This is also an important series for Turkey which is tuning up for the European championships this summer.
The two squads meet again on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Centre sportif in Gatineau, The series concludes Saturday in Kingston, Ont., at Queen’s University. Start time is 4 p.m.