Canada earned its best-ever finish at the 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship in Poland this past weekend, but the process of fine-tuning and improvement is far from over, according to head coach Glenn Hoag.
“Team Canada has become very well respected by the top teams, and this will mean that these teams will prepare better when they play against us,” Hoag said, reflecting on the tournament that is still in progress with the final six teams battling it out for the title of number-one in the world.
“We will have to improve the quality of our game especially technically because this is where the difference was made in the last two matches. Small things made the difference, and in the end they were just simple execution errors.”
Canada had a good run at the World Championship, with six victories in a row, but dropped its final two matches to Brazil and Germany.
“I was very disappointed with our performance against Germany, so it is hard to reflect on our accomplishments,” he explains. With many of his players untested at this level, Hoag and his coaching staff learned a lot about how the team reacted to stressful situations on the court. “It was interesting to see and evaluate our team in this environment, and I think we will get good data to help us plan the future.”
It’s a crucial couple of years for the men’s team, as Canada hosts the Pan American Games in 2015, and the road to Rio 2016 is also in the spotlight.
“We still have a lot to figure out about the schedule, but it will likely be another packed summer in 2015,” said Hoag, who has re-joined his professional team, Arkas, in Turkey along with Canadian players Gavin Schmitt, who is Canada’s top scoring machine, and Gord Perrin.
It was a busy year for the Canadian team, coming off the pro season, Canada jumped right into its World Championship Qualification tournament in mid-May, followed by the 2014 edition of World League, which took the men’s team to three locations in Western Canada as well as Belgium, Finland and Australia.
Hoag also explained that his team was also plagued by injuries going in to Worlds: “The players showed great focus given that our preparation was far from perfect. The whole group was needed to reach seventh place, and it’s kind of nice to know we have this depth and maturity.”
In addition to the seventh-place finish at the World Championship, some of the team’s highlights in this busy summer were beating top teams including Cuba, China, Bulgaria, Argentina, and Poland. Last year, the team also managed at fifth place at World League, and a dramatic win over 2012 Olympic gold medalists Russia.
Hoag is also pleased with the progress of up-and-coming players including his son, Nicholas Hoag, as well as young setter TJ Sanders, who both made a significant impact at the Worlds, and others including Daniel Jansen Van Doorn and Jason DeRocco, who played in various tournaments this summer.
“Also, our serving game both tactically and technically has finally reached international standards, so I’m pleased to see that progression,” said Hoag.
Four years ago. Canada failed to make it past the first round of the World Championship, and this year they were close to cracking the round of the final six, finishing ranked seventh. “The team has grown quite a bit,” Hoag said after the match with Germany on Sunday. “It’s obvious. The formula of the Worlds put pressure on us and we will use that to grow and improve.”
Round Two results:
Sept. 14 Germany-Canada (28-26, 25-22, 25-23)
Sept. 13 Brazil-Canada (25-19, 25-23, 29-27)
Sept. 11 Canada-Finland (27-25, 27-25, 25-19)
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)
All results at http://poland2014.fivb.org. Follow the timeline on twitter #FIVBMensWCH
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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