Canada no match for skilled French squad at Olympic Qualifier
Tokyo, Japan, June 2, 2016 – A determined French team defeated Canada 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-16) at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Thursday.
“France is one of the better teams in this tournament and in the world – they probably have the best technical level that there is right now in volleyball,” said Canada’s head coach, Glenn Hoag, who decided to play a different lineup today, resting some key players for this weekend’s final matches against Japan and China.
“We lack patience and experience against teams like France,” explained Hoag. “But we are determined to end the tournament well and we’re not giving up.”
In today’s match, France’s Earvin Ngapeth and Antonin Rouzier sparked their team’s offense with 15 and 14 points respectively. Graham Vigrass led Canada with 11 points.
“We had a really difficult time scoring,” said Canada’s captain Rudy Verhoeff. “It’s pretty obvious that the scores are quite lopsided, and they put us in a lot of trouble with their serving and their block defense was very good. We know that France is traditionally a very, very strong team on defense, and they can pick up balls then transition to make direct points. I think that’s where they had a large edge over us.”
France has four wins and one loss (a five-set battle with Poland) at this tournament – a very solid position to get a Rio berth. Canada has two wins and three losses. After today, teams have only two matches left to make their mark in the grueling week-long tournament.
“Now we need to focus on the next two matches, which is what we have to do to get our ticket,” said Verhoeff. “We have to mentally prepare for some tough games. Now everything’s on the line, and I’m confident in our group to rise up to the challenge.”
The Canadian team has a day-and-a-half rest to prepare for the matches against Japan (Saturday) and China (Sunday).
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 overall, four in total, will qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
#1 TJ Sanders, London, ON
#2 Gordon Perrin, Creston, BC
#3 Dan Lewis, Oakville, ON
#4 Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC|
#5 Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary, AB
#6 Justin Duff, Winnipeg, MB
#8 Adam Simac, Ottawa, ON
#10 Toon Van Lankvelt, Rivers, MB
#11 Daniel Jansen Van Doorn, Langley, BC
#12 Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon, SK
#17 Graham Vigrass, Calgary, AB
#19 Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB
#21 Jay Blankenau, Sherwood Park, AB
#22 Steven Marshall, Abbotsford, BC
Staff in Japan:
Julien Boucher – Team Manager
Glenn Hoag – Head Coach
Larry McKay – Asst. Coach
Vincent Pichette – Asst. Coach
Murat Haktanir – Statistician
Mathieu Seguin – Therapist
Jean-Sebastien Hartell – Therapist
Hikaru Ohtani – Team liaison