Canada moves into first place in World League group


Louis Daignault (ISN)

June 15, 2013, Mississauga, Ontario, (ISN) – Canada moved into top spot in Group C in men’s World League volleyball after defeating South Korea 25-23, 25-20, 25-20 on Saturday night before 2,300 fans at the Hershey Centre.

The Canadians swept the two matches this week against South Korea and improved to 4-2 for 12 points. Finland, which was upset by Japan earlier Saturday, and idle the Netherlands both have nine points. South Korea have seven, Portugal five and Japan three.

Only the top team in the Group advances to next month’s World League final. Canada now heads overseas for its final four matches in the preliminary round.

“Our goal is to be number one in our pool and to do that we need to have weekends where we get two wins in a row,” said Gord Perrin (Creston, B.C.),Canada’s top scorer with 16 points. “It’s really tight in the standings and it is huge for us to get these wins.”

South Korea was no match for the larger Canadians in front of their home crowd fans. Although the Koreans looked sharper off the start tonight with their middle blockers attacking well, Canada responded with another straight-set win.

Right side Dallas Soonias of Red Deer, AB, added15. Soonias hit his stride this weekend, as he is replaced Canada’s star attacker Gavin Schmitt who is injured.

“Dallas put together two very strong matches in a row,” said Canadian head coach Glenn Hoag.

Korea’s Kwang-In Jeon did manage 16 points and was Korea’s top scorer against Canada this weekend.

Hoag was satisfied today after losing the second match of the previous weekends games (against Netherlands and Portugal respectively). “I’m very happy with the win. Korea played better (than last night). We made some tactical adjustments and got some key points,” Hoag said after tonight’s game.

Canada’s captain Fred Winters of Victoria, B.C. knew Korea would bring a better game tonight, but the Canadians didn’t panic. “We were firing on all cylinders, even when they were beating us, we were composed,” he said.

“One of the key factors in tonight’s win was an improvement in the Canadian team’s ability to match the Korean defense. We were able to win many of the long rallies, which doesn’t usually happen,” said libero Dan Lewis (Oakville, ON).

Korea’s coach Ki-Won Park was obviously disappointed: “We did play better in the serve receive and ran a few more attacks in the middle, but it is very hard against Canada to sustain a run of points.”

Canada now heads to Finland (June 28-30) and then Japan (July 5-7) to continue its campaign to finish at the top of Pool C and advance in the tournament.

In World League, each pool will play over six weekends before the finals take place from July 17 to 21 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Six teams will qualify for the World League Finals featuring the top two teams from Pools A and B, plus the winners of Pool C and the host country (Argentina).

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