September 29, 2013, Langley, BC – It was not the storybook ending Canada was hoping for as they fell 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-14) to the United States of America in the 2013 NORCECA final.
Canada came into the final with momentum and a monster crowd to back them up but it just wasn’t enough. The USA took home the gold and booked their ticket to the FIVB Grand Champions Cup tournament in Japan.
The first set of the final was within Canada’s grasp as they led 19-16 in the late stages but the USA closed the gap and were able to tie things up at 21-21. The two teams then traded points until the USA finished the opening set with a 25-23 comeback victory and they carried that momentum the rest of the way.
Canada struggled to get their offense going after the opening set loss as both Gord Perrin and Dallas Soonias were held to just 7 kills apiece. The game plan really changed for Canada when Captain Fred Winters went down with an ankle injury as he was unable to return. The injury to Winter’s hurt Canada the most in the passing part of their game, as he had been one of their stronger passers throughout the tournament.
“We got outplayed completely by the USA,” said Canadian coach Glenn Hoag. “We couldn’t receive so we couldn’t establish any offense and they played great block defense. We had a chance in the first set but we made too many unforced errors.”
The USA was led by tournament MVP Matthew Anderson who had an impressive final game adding 14 kills and 3 service aces. The Canadian block that was so dominant during the tournament had no answer for Anderson and was almost non-existent, as the USA out blocked Canada 10-6. In the end it was the serve and pass game that proved to be the difference, as the USA served lights out and were constantly able to put pressure on the Canadian passers.
It’s another learning experience for a young Canadian team that is on the rise after a solid summer of volleyball on the international stage. Canada’s recent jump from 18th to 11th in the FIVB World Rankings has been well earned through their recent success and moving forward the future looks even brighter.
CUBA 3-2 PUERTO RICO (27-29, 25-27, 25-20, 27-25, 15-12)
Cuba won the Bronze Medal at the Norceca Men’s Contiental Championship in a five setter win against Puerto Rico (27-29, 25-27, 25-20, 27-25, 15-12). Ezequiel Cruz was the top scorer with 23 points for Puerto Rico, that had a 2-0 lead and also had a very solid production with Mannix Roman (17 points), Juan Vazquez (12) and captain Enrique Escalante (12).
However, Cuba distributed its attack and blocking game to come from behind in the third set. Rolando Cepeda topped 18 points, while David Fiel closed with 16. Abrahan Alfonso Gavilan scored 13, Yordan Bisset 12 and Jorber Quintana 10.
MEXICO 3-0 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (25-23, 25-22, 26-24)
Mexico finished in fifth place of the Norceca Men’s Continental Championship after a 3-0 win against Dominican Republic (25-23, 25-22, 26-24). Daniel Vargas was the top scorer for Mexico with 14 points while Edgar Herrera closed with 11. For Dominican Republic, Elvis Contreras closed with 10 points. Both teams surrendered 21 points by unforced errors, but Mexico topped in kill blocks with 12 against only five by the Dominican squad.