EDMONTON, AB: Brazil’s men’s team came out on top 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-19) in the first of two matches last night (Sept. 01) at the Saville Community Centre in Edmonton.
The Canadians, coming off a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto this summer, actually drew first blood, winning the first set 25-23. Brazil earned early leads in the first, going up 8-6 and 10-9, before Canada turned the tide. Team Canada then edged its way to a 23-22 lead before Gavin Schmitt ended the opening set with an ace.
The second and third sets were all Brazil, however. Coach Bernardo Rezende’s squad started the second with an 8-7 advantage, but eventually ballooned that to 21-18 before closing it out with a 25-19 final. The third set was more of the same as Brazil opened up with an 11-7 lead, and then increased it to 18-11 before earning the victory with a 25-16 third set final, and the fourth finished at 25-19.
“It’s been a while since we’ve played, while Brazil is coming off a match series (with the U.S.) and you could see their game was just a little more cohesive tonight. They’re a great team, the world No.1 ranked team, so it was never going to be an easy game,” said Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag. “We adjusted well throughout the match, the guys started being aggressive late in the match, but our players are not quite at the right tempo now to win these games.”
Gord Perrin was Canada’s top scorer with 17, followed by Gavin Schmitt with 15.
“I thought Canada put a lot of pressure on us in the first set with their serving game, I think they had three aces in the opening set, and our serve reception wasn’t consistent. We also didn’t know some of Canada’s players all that well, so we had to adjust to their tendencies. Canada’s setter played very well, and Schmitt was very effective in that first set, too,” said Brazil’s head coach Bernardo Rezende. “After that I thought we controlled the match better in the second and third set. We made fewer errors and our block defence and transition game was much better.”
Brazil’s Renan Buiatti led his team’s scoring with 15 points. Mauricio Silva and Ricardo Lucarelli had 13 apiece.
The teams play again this evening (Sept. 02) at the Saville Centre in Edmonton at 7 pmlocal time.
“It was a good test for us for the Olympics. We’re very grateful for Canada for hosting us and we hope we can prepare them for the upcoming World Cup,” said Rezende.