Canada beats Egypt in Five-Setter Thriller in Mexico
Tijuana, Mexico, September 12, 2015 – Canada is now 1-1 at the Men’s U21 World Championship in Mexico after a five-set win over Egypt on Saturday (32 – 30, 26 – 24, 19 – 25, 19 – 25, 9 – 15).
Brandon Koppers scored 30 points to finish as the most productive player for Canada, and Ryan Nickifor had 26 points for the Canadian team that finished with a 10-4 balance in collective aces and also won the blocking game 13-10.
Egypt gave Canada a run for its money, winning the first two sets. Ahmed Saad was the best scorer of the African team after registering 23 points, while Ahmed Saleh closed with 11 and Mohamed Abdelmohsen Seliman with 10.
“We started to play good volleyball. We were right up against the wall down 2-0. We had nothing left to lose,” said Canada’s coach John Barrett. “The boys started to play without any fear. … You must be able to play freely, and at that moment we just started to do it, so I feel fortunate that my team just found the courage to play without that fear.”
Canada had lost its opener against Turkey on Friday 3-1 (17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-19). Canada now faces Mexico on Sunday while Egypt will play Turkey at the High Performance Centre in Mexico.
Ryan Nickifor, team captain, said: “I knew this match today was going to be a battle against Egypt. We were pressured in the first three sets, but we were able to get back and fight really hard in the last two sets.”The competition features 16 teams and will run over eight days with two rest days. The teams are divided into four pools of four teams each and will play a round-robin tournament. The top two teams from each pool will then be split into two further pools of four (Pools E and F), with the bottom two teams from the first round also divided into two pools of four (Pools G and H).The top two teams from Pools E and F will qualify for the semifinals and finals, with the bottom two facing off in a playoff to be classified from fifth to eighth. The winners from Pools G and H will have a playoff for the ninth to 12th classification with the bottom two teams from the same pool moving onto a playoff for 13th to 16th.
1- Gabriel Chancy, Montréal, QC
2- Brandon Koppers, Georgetown, ON
4- Blake Scheerhoorn, Belleville, ON
5- Lucas Coleman, Brooklin, ON
6- Ryan Nickifor, Sherwood Park, AB
7- Arthur Szwarc, Toronto, ON
8- Andrew Richards, London, ON
9- Olivier Riopel, Gatineau, QC
10- Byron Keturakis, Surrey, BC
13- Arran Chambers, Edmonton, AB
14- Keith West, Lethbridge, AB
15- Joel Regehr, Courtenay, BC
Head Coach : John Barrett
Assistants : Brock Davidiuk and Vincenzo Mallia
Therapist : Kevin Montgomery
Manager: Dave McAllister
Photo and reports by: FIVB