Volleyball Canada – Jackie Skender
Havana, Cuba, : Canada’s men’s team came out strong and then held on to capture a 3-1 (25-14, 20-25, 25-21, 25-21) victory over Cuba in Pool C of FIVB Volleyball World League at the Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum Friday evening.
Canada’s Steve Marshall fired 17 points from the attack line and scored a block for 18 total, while teammate Toontje Van Lankvelt scored 16 points. Rolando Cepeda contributed 16 points for Cuba.
“We’re very happy with this victory,” said Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag. “Our players took it too easy after the 1st set (allowing Cuba to come back and win the second). They should keep their focus on the match. Then Cuba put a lot of pressure on us. When Cuba is able to play better, we should be able to do the same.”
Cuba looked lost in the opener, which allowed Canada’s attackers to pounce on the Cuban defense and take the first set 25-14. The Cubans retaliated in the second set with more organised defense, while Canada struggled with unforced errors. Cuba tied the match at 1-1 with a 25-20 second-set win.
Canada sent a barrage of attacks led by Marshall and Van Lankvelt to take the lead in the third set but Luis Sosa, Livan Osoria and Javier Jimenez’s strong upsurge matched the Canadian intensity. Canada managed to gain enough breathing space, but the Cuban captain Cepeda was able to bring his team to within three points 23-20, but then two errors led to a Canadian win 25-21.
Cuba stayed closed to Canada in the fourth set at 16-14 and at 21-20, but a Cuban fault changed the pace, and Canada rushed to the finish line with a 25-21 set and match victory.
This is Canada’s third win over Cuba in 2015 FIVB World League play – Canada won two matches in May in Calgary, both in three sets.
“We didn’t play our best, but it was enough to win,” said Fred Winters, Canada’s captain. “Cuba has improved its game a little bit for sure since Calgary as it was their first game there. They were better on paper in Calgary, but they play better now even with some of their major players off the team.”
Canada leads its pool with 21 points. The teams play again tonight. Check local listing for live coverage on Sportsnet ONE http://www.sportsnet.ca/schedule/
Video highlights on YouTube: http://youtu.be/AQDA0fLdUs8
Roster (in Cuba)
TJ Sanders, London, ON
Toon Van Lankvelt, Rivers, MB
Justin Duff, Winnipeg, MB
Steven Marshall, Abbotsford, BC
Dan Lewis, Oakville, ON
Max Burt, Gander, NL
Casey Schouten, Winnipeg, MB
Dustin Schneider. Brandon, MB
Adam Simac, Ottawa, ON
Jason Derocco, East St. Paul, MB
Frederic Winters, Victoria, BC
Gord Perrin, Creston, BC
Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB
Lucas Van Berkel, Edmonton, AB