Canada Battles to Win Over Cuba in World League
Tampere, Finland – Canada is still unbeaten in FIVB Volleyball World League Group 2 after winning Cuba a five-setter 3-2 (24-26, 25-21, 19-25, 25-16, 15-13) today, an especially sweet victory on Canada Day as Cuba last defeated Canada for Olympic qualification in January.
Gordon Perrin of Creston, B.C. was the top scorer for the winning team with 28 points. Perrin was the difference as his haul allowed Canada to come out on top, even though Abrahan Gavilan responded with 20 points for Cuba.
“It was a difficult match for us because of the jet lag,” said Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag. The Canadian team came straight from Saskatoon, where they won three matches last week. “Cuba is more adjusted – they have been in Europe for two weeks now. And it’s a weird time, in the middle of the afternoon but the players really pushed through today. I’m happy with the result.”
Canada started the first set convincingly leading 12-7, but Cuba came back and tied the set at 14-14. The fight between the sides continued with slim margins until the strong attacks of the Cuban spikers wrapped up the set 26-24.
Canada made a comeback in set two leading 8-4 and 16-14 at the technical timeouts. The young Cubans did not give up and the set was still open at 18-18. Finally the set turned to Canada when Cuban captain Rolando Cepeda, who gave Canada so much trouble at the Olympic qualifier, served to the net giving Canada a set ball. Then Perrin hit an ace sealing the set 25-21 for Canada.
Cuba dominated the third set with powerful serves and strong attacks when Canada was struggling with their reception. Cuba took the set in convincing fashion 25-19.
Canada had a tremendous start to set four taking rapidly 6-0 lead and they maintained their high level through the whole set with Perrin attack the net with accuracy as Canada closed out the set 25-16.
The tiebreak was a tough fight as both teams showed excellent volleyball. Cuba had to take a timeout when Canada was leading 9-7. It helped and Cuba took next four points. Canada dominated the end of the set closing it 15-13 with a great three-man block.
Canada’s record of seven wins so far now allows the team to advance to the Group 2 final four! Canada plays Portugal tomorrow.