Wroclaw, Poland, September 11, 2014 – Canada extended its winning streak to a team-record six matches defeating Finland in straight sets (27-25, 27-25, 25-19) in Pool F of the FIVB Men’s World Championship at Centennial Hall of Wroclaw on Thursday.
The Canadians increased their all-important tally to 10 points while Finland has two points. Canada now heads to Katowice, Poland, to play Brazil and Germany; with the goal of coming at least third in Pool F in order to advance to the “Final Six” of the tournament.
The first two sets today were close affairs, delighting the fans, with Finland on the losing end 27-25. Saskatoon’s Gavin Schmitt was the main offensive force for Canada overall with 21 points, and Gord Perrin (Creston, BC) and Nicholas Hoag (Sherbrooke, Que.) added 11 and 9 points, respectively. Olli Kunnari had 12 for the Finns, followed by Matti Oivanen with 11, including six blocks.
Though the teams were tight in the first two sets, Canada quickly jumped out to lead in the third as Schmitt was a force to be reckoned with, and there was no looking back.
“In the first two sets, they were making some incredible plays – the defense, the little shots they were hitting. We just tried to weather the storm,” said setter TJ Sanders of London, Ont. “And then in the third set, we got some breaks. We got that confidence to be a little bit more aggressive.”
This is not the first time these teams have clashed this year, they played each other in pool play of the FIVB World League tournament and in training matches.
“We have a really interesting relationship with Finland because I think we’ve played them like 15 times in two or three summers,” said Canada’s captain, Fred Winters of Victoria, BC. “We knew it was going to be a fight and it was for the first two sets. We are fortunate that it went our way. Today our reception was really good on their serves. In the third set, Gavin made a big difference and helped us finish off the match.”
Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag said: “Obviously we are very happy with the win and the three points. My team played much better than they did last night (against Cuba). I was a little bit worried about fatigue, but the guys responded by being very focused.
“Finland showed amazing defense and that’s why I love these matches because they are so well played. Volleyball is my passion and when teams play like that, it’s excellent. And it is good for the public because it’s very exciting and that’s what it was tonight.”
Round Two results:
Sept. 10 Canada-Cuba (25-27, 25-18, 23-25, 25-11, 15-13)
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
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