With reports from NORCECA. Photo by Kevin Light
EDMONTON, Canada, January 8, 2016 – Canada began its quest for a men’s volleyball Olympic berth by defeating Mexico in straight sets 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-16) in the first match of the NORCECA Qualifier at Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton on Friday.
The overall winning team will earn a direct ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.Gordon Perrin topped Canada with 15 points, Dallas Soonias and Toontje Van Lankvelt each contributed nine points in the victory, while Daniel Jansen Vandoorn chipped in with seven.“This was pretty important. Every set is worth a point towards the final berth, and we were close to dropping a set, but we managed to win all three,” said Perrin. “We started nervous because we’re playing for the Olympics and Canada hasn’t qualified in a long time (1992). We all wanted to win really badly, so I think we were a little nervous. But a little adversity is good, and we overcame it and got it done in three which was really important.”Mexico’s Jorge Barajas had a match-high 16 points as the only player with offensive double figures for the losing side.
Canada blanked its opponents 7-0 in blocks with four scored Jansen Vandoorn, but Mexico held a slight margin of 7-6 in aces. The winners made 18 unforced errors to 28 by the defeated side.“They’re a scrappy team and a hard team to play sometimes. They know they have to put a lot into their serve game to pressure us, and even though we’re used to it because we’ve played Mexico many times, they are still frustrating to play against,” said Canada’s coach, Glenn Hoag. “We still need to iron out some stuff, but everyone was ok today. Our setter was good, our serving was good, our receive was ok. We’ll get better. I haven’t seen Puerto Rico too much, so we’re going to study them now, but every game will be tough at this point”.
Jorge Azair, coach (MEX) “They (Canada) dominated us with their blocking, as always. We played a good second set and had good moments in the first and third sets. It was a strong match to start the tournament and we need to forget about this one and prepare for the next two which are very important.”
Jorge Barajas, player (MEX): “We knew it was going to be a very difficult match for us but it was a learning experience. Our team is playing better and better and we expect to improve in our next two matches. Our real goal is to keep open the chances of qualifying in one of the two tournaments of the next round.
The schedule (local time) is as follows:January 8
5pm – Canada vs Mexico 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-16)
7pm – Cuba vs Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 33-31)
1.30pm – Canada vs Puerto Rico (live on CBC TV)
4pm – Cuba vs Mexico
5pm – Puerto Rico vs Mexico
7pm – Canada vs Cuba
(please note that the final roster of 14 players will be announced next week)
name, hometown, position
TJ Sanders, London, ON, setter
Dustin Schneider, Brandon, MB, setter
Daniel Lewis, Oakville, ON, libero
Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB, libero
Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary, AB, middle
Graham Vigrass, Calgary, AB, middle
Daniel Jansen Van Doorn, Langley, BC, middle
Justin Duff, Winnipeg, MB, middle
Fred Winters, Victoria, BC, leftside
Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC leftside
Gordon Perrin, Creston, BC, leftside
Toon Van Lankvelt, Rivers, MB leftside
Steve Marshall, Langley, BC, leftside
Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon, SK, opposite
Dallas Soonias, Red Deer, AB, opposite