EDMONTON, January 9, 2015 – Canada defeated Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-23) on the second day of action at the NORCECA Men’s Volleyball Qualification Tournament in front of a full house at Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton today.
The Canadians needs one more victory – against Cuba on Sunday – to punch a ticket to the Olympics.
Gordon Perrin and Daniel Jansen Vandoorn led the Canadian offense with 14 and 10 points, respectively, while Dallas Soonias and Toontje Van Lankvelt each contributed nine points.
“Winning in three straight was critical because we need all the points we can get. We’re back-to-back with Cuba now, same record, so it’s all coming down to tomorrow night,” explained Gord Perrin. “We played better today, but we didn’t play well with the lead today. We had a couple of good gaps on them, but we allowed them to close those and get back into the set. If we can keep running away with those sets when we have those leads, our game will be a lot better. I think our blocking was the difference today. We got some really key blocks late in the match that really helped us to the win.”
Maurice Torres was the best scorer of Puerto Rico with 14 points, followed by Sequiel Sanchez with nine points.
The Canadians dominated their opponents in all facets of the game with a 42-29 advantage in kills, 11-5 in blocks, including six by Dan Jansen Vandoorn, and 5-3 in aces with TJ Sanders landing three winners from the service line.
“We were expecting a tough match against Puerto Rico, and that’s what we got. They’re a feisty team, and I told the guys yesterday to be careful of provoking them because they didn’t have a great match yesterday and I knew they would be fired up today,” said head coach Glenn Hoag. “Our sub guys really made a difference today. Fred Winters was amazing off the bench, Nick (Hoag) too, and Rudy (Rudy Verhoeff) got us some really crucial blocks late in the match as well. That was big for us today, and if we can get that same effort tomorrow, I think we’ll be ok.”
Javier Gaspar, Puerto Rico’s head coach said: “As soon as we stabilized our serve reception we were able to battle against Canada. We fought until the last point and that’s something I ask of my players. Tomorrow against Mexico we need to have more consistency and minimize the errors. That’s a crucial match for us and in the first two matches I have rotated my players and gave a little rest to some of them who needed it.”
Canada plays Cuba on Sunday night. The overall winter in Edmonton earns the right to play at the Olympic Games.