Botevgrad, Bulgaria – Canada’s men’s volleyball team beat Bulgaria 3-1 (25-20, 25-19, 22-25, 25-21) in the teams’ first FIVB World League 2015 meeting at the Arena Botevgrad today.

Canada got off to a strong start buoyed by Gord Perrin’s blocking and Gavin Schmitt’s hitting, and took the set 25-20. The second set was a similar story. Schmitt hit aces, while Bulgaria’s team captain Vladimir Nikolov was plagued by service errors. Canada went 2-0 up with a 25-19 win. 

Unforced errors helped Canada to the lead in set three, but Bulgaria finally found its game, with a Todor Skrimov hit and a block by Todor Aleksiev edging them ahead to take the set 25-22. And it stayed quite close in set four, until a late surge by Canada – led by the superb spiking and serving of Schmitt – secured the set (25-21) and match, 3-1.

“I am happy with the win,” said Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag.  “The team stayed very focused and respected the game plan.  At the end of the second set, we started to get tired and made several unforced errors in the third. Bulgaria played steady ball, but our guys came up with key plays in the crunch.”

Schmitt was the match top scorer with 26 points, the highest in World League so far this season, with the next best contribution to Canada’s scoring coming from Toon Van Lankvelt with 15 and then 13 from Perrin. Vladimir Nikolov had 20 points for Bulgaria.

Watch the game at 6 pm Eastern on Sportsnet ONE in Canada, or check our match highlights onYouTube.

The teams face each other again tomorrow at 20:40 local time.  Check local listings for Sportsnet ONE broadcast.

With reports and photo from

Roster (Canada in Bulgaria)
Josh Howatson, Setter, Victoria, BC
TJ Sanders, Setter, London, ON
Blair Bann, Libero, Edmonton, AB
Gavin Schmitt, Opposite, Saskatoon, SK
Casey Schouten, Opposite, Winnipeg, MB
Frederic Winters, Leftside, Victoria, BC
Steven Marshall, Leftside,  Abbotsford, BC
Jason DeRocco, Leftside, East St. Paul, MB
Gord Perrin, Leftside, Creston, BC
Toon Van Lankvelt, Leftside, Rivers, MB
Lucas Van Berkel, Middle, Edmonton, AB
Justin Duff, Middle, Winnipeg, MB
Graham Vigrass, Middle, Calgary, AB
Rudy Verhoeff, Middle, Calgary, AB

Glenn Hoag, head coach
Vincent Pichette, assistant coach
Larry McKay, assistant coach
Jean Sebastien Hartell, therapist
Murat Haktanir, stats
Julien Boucher, team manager