Another tie-break heartbreak for Canada at WOQT
Tokyo, Japan, May 29, 2016 – Iran staged a huge comeback, as Canada dropped a five-set heart-breaker 3-2 (27-29, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21, 16-14) on the second day of the Men’s Volleyball World Olympic Qualification Tournament (WOQT) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday.
Canada came out looking strong and won the first two sets, but then the momentum switched to the Iranians. “We didn’t exactly execute what we wanted to do and they played well – Iran made some key defensive moves at key times, and then they transitioned well out of it,” explained Canada’s captain Rudy Verhoeff. “I think we picked up a few balls on defense and didn’t make a direct point after, but that’s what they were doing. In the end it came down to a few points.”
Canada had come off another five-set battle yesterday afternoon with world-ranked number 2 Poland, and then played Iran in the 10 am slot this morning.
“The Iranian team played really well in the last three sets of the match,” admitted Canada coach Glenn Hoag. “We knew it was going to be a difficult match given that we had five sets yesterday (with Poland) – we lost a bit of our freshness after the first two hard-fought sets today. They made come key substitutions that really helped them get back into the game, but we have to move forward now and focus on the next round, which will be difficult with three matches (in three days).”
Canadian opposite Gavin Schmitt topped all scorers with 27 points, and teammate Nick Hoag had 14 points. Iran’s Milad Ebadipour contributed 26 points – 25 on attacks and one on a block. Amir Ghafour was next best scorer with 19 for the winning side.
“I thought that Iran played much better in block defense and started picking balls and we became tentative in our receive, especially in the last set and that cost us,” Hoag continued. “We just need to keep playing our game, and we do need to get wins now.”
Canada’s next game is against Australia on May 31 at 10:10 am local time.
The WOQT is a round robin tournament: eight teams are competing in 28 games, with each country playing seven matches in as many days. The top-ranked Asian team and the top three ranked teams, four in total, will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games