June 28,2014(ISN) – Tampere, Finland, June 28, 2014: Less than 24 hours made a world of difference for
Canada’s men’s volleyball team as World League pool play continued today in Tampere,
Canada won easily 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-17) this afternoon, after a disappointing
loss on Friday with a sharper looking Finnish team.
Both teams started strong today, but Canada quickly took control of the match. Gavin
Schmitt of Saskatoon, SK, came out fighting with six points in the first set.
“We came in a lot more focused and executed a game plan a lot better – we were more
mentally here today,” said Schmitt, who contributed 15 points to Canada’s overall
effort. “We had some guys step up. We are plagued with injuries, so the young guys
did well – TJ (Sanders) had a really good game today. I was really happy with the
collective team effort.”
The second set started with some back and forth, and then tied at 13-13, with Canada
eventually getting the best of its opponents to win the close contest. Finland
couldn’t get its game together and let Canada dominate the third.
Toontje Van Lankvelt of Rivers, MB, also made a big impact for Canada with 13 points.
“I don’t think after yesterday that anyone on our team was satisfied with our
performance,” said Canada’s captain Fred Winters of Victoria, BC, who had 10 points
today. “We should be kicking ourselves that we didn’t play a lot better on Friday
because we had a chance to earn some (World League) points.”
Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag was much happier with today’s effort, but concerned over
the toll that the tournament’s travel schedule is taking on his team.
“I’m very proud of the guys – right now our team is really, really, tired and we are
losing players to injury. The travel and the jet-lag is starting to cost us,” said
Hoag. “The whole team played in the moment today, and stayed focused the whole time.
It’s been a long World League for everybody, and maybe that explains why the teams
have been so irregular.”
Canada is without setter Dustin Schneider, left side Gord Perrin, and middle Rudy
Verhoeff, who are all back in Canada recovering.
Belgium seems to be the most steady team in Pool C, winning again over Australia in
Adelaide today. The Belgians now have 23 points, Canada has 17, the Finns have 12
and Australia, 8. The top team advances to the next round, with Australia getting a
spot as the host country.
The Canadians head to Sydney now to take on the “Volleyroos” – a team they faced in
Edmonton last weekend (losing one and winning another).
“We need to go and play the best volleyball we can against Australia. A good
objective for this coming weekend is to win two consistent games,” said Hoag.