Canada comes up short against Portugal


Louis Daignault (ISN)

June 8, 2013, Mississauga, ON, (ISN) On Saturday in World League men’s volleyball action Canada lost to Portugal at the Hershey Centre (25-19, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23).

Although Canada made quick work of Portugal on Friday in three sets, it was a tighter contest on Saturday in front of a crowd that had supporters of both teams on the edge of their seats.

Canada seemed to miss the physical presence leading scorer Gavin Schmitt (Saskatoon, Sask.) who did not play due to injury. The Canadians had a tentative start allowing Portugal to get the better of them early on in the first set.

“It was disappointing for us,” said Canada’s captain Fred Winters of Victoria, B.C. “They did the same thing to us that they did to Finland last week. We started so slow that we gave them confidence right off the bat.”

In the second, Canada came on strong and Portugal responded, but finally Canada seemed to connect to win the hard-fought set by five. But Canada’s momentum did not last into the third, which they dropped by seven points. The last set was tighter, but too late for Canada to make its mark.

Flavio Gulinelli, coach of Portugal, said: “Obviously we are happy with this win. We played much better than yesterday in every way. We deserved to win. My players put a lot of spirit out onto the court.”

Portugal’s Alexandre Ferreira had 17 points and the team’s captain Joao Jose finished with 16.

“We were better organized, our defense especially was better, and we were more disciplined,” said Jose.

Gord Perrin of Creston, BC. was Canada’s top scorer with 13 while Winters added 11 and Adam Simac of Ottawa 10.

As expected the pool C standings are tight. Finland, Netherlands and South Korea, which all play their fourth match Sunday, are 2-1 followed by the Canadians and Portuguese while Japan is winless.

“Portugal controlled the match beginning to end,” said Canadian coach Glenn Hoag. “We need to learn to play two matches in a row. We cannot afford to make as many mistakes as we did today.”

Last week, Canada had one win and one loss against the Dutch team. This Friday and Saturday (June 14-15), again at the Hershey Centre, Canada faces South Korea. Next week promises to be exciting, as South Korea men’s national team has had an injection of young players for 2013 with their sights firmly set on the 2014 Asian Games and 2016 Olympic Games.

Tickets for next week’s games are available at the Hershey Centre or Ticketmaster.

TV: Tape delayed on Sportsnet ONE @ 23:00, Encore on Sportsnet East, Ontario, West, Pacific on June 9 @ 10:00am