Canada ends first World League weekend undefeated
Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, June 19, 2016 – Canada finished its first FIVB World League weekend with a third victory after overpowering host country Czech Republic 3-1 (25-16, 25-23, 24-26, 26-24) today.
Canada’s Fred Winters topped all scorers with 19 points, including a match-winning ace. Petr Michalek had 18 points for the opposition.
“It took mental effort to execute the skills and team play in the pressure here, and with the fatigue,” said acting head coach Larry McKay.
Canada handily won the first set, but the Czech team put on more of a fight in the second even though it went to the Canadians. The home team solidified its effort with a win in the third, and had an 18-12 advantage in the fourth. With the home crowd ready for a tiebreak, Canada managed a comeback tying the score at the last possible moment to make it 23-all. Several solid serves from Jay Blankenau, who came in late in the match, and the ace from Winters, helped win the fourth set for Canada, 26-24.
“TJ (Sanders), Rudy Verhoeff, Steve Marshall and Blair Bann played every set this weekend. Fred Winters showed his years of being a top Canadian player with crucial points, and Jay Blankenau scored the deciding points when it looked like we were out of the fourth set. It was a proud moment for the team,” continued McKay. “Assistant coach Vincent Pichette, (statistician) Murat Haktanir and indeed the whole support staff here did so much work preparing the team and deserve much credit.”
On Friday, Canada beat China, and on Saturday Egypt – both wins in straight sets.
“This is the first time we have started World League with three wins on the road,” said veteran and captain Fred Winters. “We got a little bit tired in the third set, but then Blankenau came on and saved us from service line. It was nice to see because he didn’t play this weekend and he did his job.”
Next weekend the Canadian team is home to play World League matches in Saskatoon at the SaskTel Centre, June 24 to 26.
TJ Sanders, London, ON
Jay Blankenau, Sherwood Park, AB
Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary, AB
Justin Duff, Winnipeg, MB
Adam Simac, Ottawa, ON
Toon Van Lankvelt, Rivers, MB
Daniel Jansen Van Doorn, Langley, BC
Fred Winters, Victoria, BC
Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB
Graham Vigrass, Calgary, AB
Stephen Maar, Aurora, ON
Steven Marshall, Abbotsford, BC
Brett Walsh, Calgary, AB
Julien Boucher – Team Manager
Larry McKay – Acting Head Coach
Vincent Pichette – Asst. Coach
Murat Haktanir – Statistician
Jean-Sebastien Hartell – Therapist