Canada and Cuba to go for gold in Mexico
CORDOBA, Mexico, October 10, 2015 – After being down 1-2, Canada came back to win its semifinal 3-2 (20-25, 25-16,18-25, 25-17,15-7) over Mexico Friday night, and will play for the gold medal today at the NORCECA Men’s Continental Volleyball Championship.
Mexico dominated the first and third sets, but Canada re-grouped in the fourth and forced a tie-breaking fifth set.
“For us, I’m happy with the win, but it was a very difficult match,” said Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag. “Mexico played very well and put us under pressure with good serving, especially early in the game and played very good defense – and were better in certain sets offensively as well. We made too many mistakes, but once we stabilized our game a little bit, our blockers were more present and it helped us win this game, but it was very hard.”
Gord Perrin finished as top scorer with 21 points, while Nicholas Hoag scored 19 (2 aces) and Daniel Jansen Vandoorn, contributed 14.
For Mexico, Jorge Barajas had 13 points, while Nestor Orellana scored 12 (2 aces) and Gonzalo Ruiz also finished with 12. Canada outplayed Mexico in blocking (15-4) and Mexico closed with a slight advantage in aces (5-4).
“Mexico showed they can play at a really good level,” admitted Canada’s captain Fred Winters. “I don’t want to say they surprised us because we know the type of volleyball they play – very scrappy and good on defense and they don’t give up. I really don’t think our offense was the problem, just some unforced errors, and really in the first three sets Mexico played great volleyball, also in attack, which we might not have expected. It was a good match – it was a hard match for us, but we’re happy to be in the finals.”
Also on Friday, Cuba defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-23 and 25-22) in the other semi match-up. The gold-medal match against Cuba is scheduled for 8 pm local, 9 pm Eastern.
The top four teams at this tournament have already earned their ticket to an Olympic qualifier, tentatively scheduled for January 2016.
Canada recently returned from the World Cup in Japan, where the top two teams (U.S. and Italy) earned Olympic berths. Canada finished seventh in Japan. Participating teams in Mexico are attempting to qualify for Rio from North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation regional event, with the exception of the U.S. (already qualified).
#1 TJ Sanders, London, ON
#2 Gordon Perrin, Creston, BC
#3 Dan Lewis, Oakville, ON
#5 Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary, AB
#6 Justin Duff, Winnipeg, MB
#8 Adam Simac, Ottawa, ON
#9 Dustin Schneider, Brandon, MB
#10 Toon Van Lankvelt, Rivers, MB
#11 Daniel Jansen Vandoorn, Langley, BC
#14 Max Burt, Gander, NL
#15 Fred Winters, Victoria, BC
#18 Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC
#19 Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB
#22 Steven Marshall, Abbotsford, BC
Glenn Hoag, head coach,
Vincent Pichette, assistant coach
Larry McKay, assistant coach
Julien Boucher, team manager
Jean-Sebastien Hartell, athletic therapist
Murat Haktanir, statistician