TORONTO, Canada, July 21, 2015 – The Canadian men’s team made a sensational comeback from a 0-2 deficit to defeat the United States 3-2 (19-25, 25-27, 25-23, 25-16, 15-12) and claim first place in Pool B of the men’s volleyball tournament at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games on Tuesday at Exhibition Centre.
The United States held the favourable margin in attacks 56-54 and in aces 10-3, while Canada was better in blocking 12-8 and had fewer errors. The victory earned Canada a direct ticket to the semifinals, to be played on Friday, July 24 at 7 pm local time, and put the United States in third place of the pool and into the quarter-finals.
Gord Perrin of Creston, B.C., led Canada with 16 points, followed by Gavin Schmitt (Saskatoon, SK) and Graham Vigrass (Calgary, AB) with 14 and 12, respectively. The U.S.’s Zachary La Cavera led all the players with 18 points. Watch the game here on www.cbc.ca
“We struggled a lot with our serving so I needed to kind of rotate guys in,” explained Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag. “Fred Winters I think made the difference tonight when he came in and stabilized a bunch of things, and received well. I didn’t want to start Gavin because he’s injured right now, but we had no choice because this was our qualifying to at least not play in the quarter-final and go directly to the semi-final. I didn’t say anything special really (to the players); I just tried to tell them that it’s going to be a long match. We need to go back to the basics, and play our game and things will come, and they did. We’re pretty happy.”
Canada’s captain Fred Winters (Victoria, BC) was impressed with the atmosphere and was buoyed by the fans. “I think this is the best crowd I’ve played in front of in Canada!”
The crowds were also amazing all week at the nearby Chevrolet Beach Volleyball Centre. Unfortunately, Canadian pair Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto, ON) and Taylor Pischke (Winnipeg, MB) lost the bronze medal match to Liliane Maestrini and Carolina Horta of Brazil yesterday 2-0 (21-9, 21-14).
It was a learning experience for Canada’s young duo. Said Pischke: “It was really fun to play in front of a sold-out stadium every day, you don’t get those opportunities very often and we’re thankful that we got to play in front of all of these fans. They’re such great fans and so supportive.”
Today is a quiet day for volleyball fans at Toronto 2015. Tomorrow, the women’s indoor team plays Peru at 1:30 pm local time for classification.