Louis Daignault (ISN)
July 19, 2013, MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina (ISN) – After a remarkable victory over Olympic champion Russia on Thursday, Canada’s national men’s volleyball team lost 25-18, 30-28, 25-20 to world number-one Brazil in the FIVB World League Final tournament.
“We showed we can play on the big stage in the world and have the ability to beat great teams in the future,” said Canadian scoring ace Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon.
Brazil (one win and one loss) places first in Group D with four points, Russia (1-1) takes second with three and Canada (1-1) follows at two. The top-two in each of the two groups advance to the semis. Canada needed to win Friday to advance to the semis. A loss in five sets would have required a points for and against ratio tie-breaker to determine the final Group standings. In World League a win in three or four sets is worth three points while in a five-set match the winner gets two points and the loser one.
Fred Winters of Victoria led the Canadian attack with 12 points while Schmitt and Gord Perrin of Creston, B.C., added 10 apiece as Canada completed its first ever appearance in the World League Final, in the event’s 24-year history.
”We overcame a lot of pressure to win our group and make it to the final,” said Schmitt. ”We won seven games in a row and the last one against Russia which is great, really big for us.”
Attacker Justin Duff of Winnipeg says Canada needs to be nearly flawless to beat a powerhouse like Brazil.
“We made a lot of mistakes and if you’re going to give Brazil a few points, they’re going to take it,” said Duff. ”It’s disappointing because I don’t think we played as well as we could today. We want to continue our progress and not be seen as the Cinderella Story, but as one of the good teams in the world.”
Canada opened the match like it ended the one against Russia taking a 2-0 lead. But two five point runs allowed the Brazilians to gain control. Canada squandered set point twice in the second set. The Canadians went up 27-26 after a bullet serve from Joshua Howatson of Victoria but successive held-ball calls gave Brazil set point again at 29-28 before Winters spiked into the net.
That tough loss seem to take the wind out of Canada’s sails early in the third as Brazil opened an 8-4 lead. The never-say-die Canadians fought back to 19-18. Winters tried to rally the troops but a spike out at 23-19 gave Brazil match point before Wallace de Souza sealed it with his match high 18th point.
“They’re always difficult to play, in the World League last year we lost to them – there aren’t easy teams to play in this World League,” said Wallace
The Canadians reached the tournament Final Round by placing first in group C during the preliminary round with a record of eight wins and two losses. They had won seven straight matches before facing Brazil.
The Group E standings will be finalized following the Italy-Argentina match held later Friday.
World League Finals
Saturday, July 20th – live on Sportsnet One @ 15:30 EST
Semi Final #2
Saturday, July 20th – live on Sportsnet One @ 19:00 EST
Final (#1 vs #2)
Sunday, July 21st – live on Sportsnet One @ 19:00 EST
Final (#3 vs #4)
Sunday, July 21st – tape delayed on Sportsnet One @ 21:30 EST
Team Canada roster for 2013 FIVB World League Final men’s volleyball tournament:
Players: Dustin Schneider, Brandon, Man.; Josh Howatson, Victoria; Louis-Pierre Mainville, Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot, Que.; Dallas Soonias, Red Deer, Alta.; Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon; Blair Bann, Edmonton; Dan Lewis, Oakville, Ont.; Fred Winters, Victoria; Gord Perrin, Creston, B.C.; Toon Van Lankvelt, River, Man.; Jason Derocco, East St. Paul, Man.; Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary; Justin Duff, Winnipeg; Adam Simac, Ottawa; Graham Vigrass, Calgary.
Head coach: Glenn Hoag, Sherbrooke, Que.
Assistant coaches: Vincent Pichette, Gatineau, Que.; Georges Laplante, Montreal.
Team manager : Julien Boucher, Quebec City
Statistician: Murat Haktanir, Izmir, Turkey
Physiotherapist : Mathieu Seguin, Hawkesbury, Ont.