Wroclaw, Poland, September 10, 2014 – Canada came out on the winning side of a five-setter (25-27, 25-18, 23-25, 25-11, 15-13) in both teams’ opening match of Pool F play at Centennial Hall in Wroclaw on Wednesday night.

The Canadians, who have now won five in a row, raised their point-total to seven, while Cuba’s slightly increased to two for the second round.

Dallas Soonias of Red Deer, Alta. and Nicholas Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que., topped Canada’s scoring with 17 and 16 points, respectively, while BC natives Gord Perrin and Fred Winters contributed 13 and 10 points. Cuba’s Rolando Cepeda had a solid 17, followed by Javier Jimenez with 14. Osmany Uriarte (13) and Isbel Mesa (10) also reached double digits.

“We play Cuba pretty much every summer, so we knew what they were capable of,” said Nic Hoag, who is the son of head coach Glenn Hoag. “They are very energetic, and they don’t really have anything to lose because they are so young and they just play hard. We weren’t surprised, but we weren’t ready to be so aggressive, especially in the first set. … I think we focused back after the second and we got back into the game.”

It was a see-saw battle, but the more-experienced Canadian squad finally prevailed. Canada’s coach, Glenn Hoag, fine-tuned the lineup throughout, at one point bringing in Gavin Schmitt (Saskatoon, SK) in the fourth set, which seemed to change the momentum of the match.

“I’m happy with the win, obviously,” said coach Hoag. “We didn’t play as well as I thought we would do. We were a bit undisciplined, and made a lot of attack errors, especially in the third set. Cuba has improved a lot, and I think they are going to play some good matches to come. For us, we now have to get some rest as soon as possible because we have the early match against Finland tomorrow.”

Finland is a familiar opponent for Canada, having played each other this year in World League, and also in pre-Worlds training matches. Action gets underway 16:40 local time in Poland.

Previous Games (Round One):

Sept. 07 Canada- China (26-24, 27-25, 25-17)

Sept. 06 Mexico-Canada (17-25, 18-25, 19-25)

Sept. 05 Canada-Egypt (25-14, 25-19, 25-22)

Sept. 03 Canada-Bulgaria (17-25, 25-17, 20-25, 26-24, 15-8)

Sept. 01 Russia-Canada (25-21, 25-19, 25-21)

The full schedule and more at http://poland2014.fivb.org. Follow the timeline on twitter #FIVBMensWCH

In Canada and the U.S., matches are shown on the BeIN Sports channel or online at http://www.beinsportsconnect.tv/

Team Canada – 2014 World Men’s World Championship

# Name, Hometown

1 TJ Sanders, London, ON

18 Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC

3 Dan Lewis, Oakville, ON

7 Dallas Soonias, Red Deer, AB

6 Justin Duff, Winnipeg, MB

8 Adam Simac, Ottawa, ON

9 Dustin Schneider, Brandon, MB

10 Toontje Van Lankvelt, Rivers, MB

12 Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon, SK

15 Fred Winters, Victoria, BC

17 Graham Vigrass, Calgary, AB

2 Gord Perrin, Creston, BC

5 Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary, AB

22 Steve Marshall, Abbotsford, BC

Glenn Hoag, head coach

Vincent Pichette, assistant coach

Lawrence McKay, assistant coach

Jean-Sebastien Hartell (therapist)

Elvan Murat Haktanir, statistician

Julien Boucher, team manager

VC Media contact:

Jackie Skender


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Photo: FIVB