Thursday (Aug. 11) was a busy day on Copacabana beach for Canada’s athletes.
First, Ben Saxton (Calgary) and Chaim Schalk (Red Deer, AB) fell to Cuba’s Diaz/Gonzalez 0-2. But later had the all-important second chance to advance to the round of 16 with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) victory over Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel in the “lucky loser” round on Thursday night.
“It gave us new life knowing we were back in the tournament. We could have been out so we told ourselves we had nothing to lose. Making it back was awesome,” said Saxton. “This morning we were a bit tight, not ourselves. But we refreshed, relaxed and re-focused.”
The win sets up a round of 16 clash against the Netherlands’ Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer on Saturday at 7 pm Brazil time.
Both women’s teams won yesterday. Jamie Broder (Victoria, BC) and Kristina Valjas (Toronto, ON) eliminated Egypt’s Elghobashy and Nada Meawad after a 2-0 match.
Heather Bansley (Waterdown, ON) and Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, ON) secured their third-straight two-set win in group action Thursday evening by defeating Germans Karla Borger and Britta Buthe.
“We’ve played better as the tournament has progressed,” explained Pavan. “They were siding out well at first and what we were doing wasn’t giving us points. We changed our strategy, were more patient and played our block-defense style of play.”
Now the stage is set for a Saturday Canada vs Canada showdown as Bansley/Pavan (5th ranked) meet Broder/Valjas (16) at noon local time.
Finally, as a result of their pool play position, Canada’s Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter finish in 19th position at these Games. They fought hard, but had a 2-1 final loss to Austria to seal their fate.
Men’s indoor recap
France beat Canada in straight sets 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-19) on Thursday evening in Rio.
France led Canada in all the scoring categories with advantages of 42-36 in attacks, 7-1 in blocks, and 5-0 in service winners. The French side made 15 unforced errors to 24 by the Canadian team.
Earvin Ngapeth starred for France with 21 points, including three aces and two blocks, and Antonin Rouzier contributed 13 points in the victory.
“France is a very skilled team,” said Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag. “It’s the Olympics and there is a very high level of volleyball. We must now move on and prepare for our match against Mexico.”
Nicholas Hoag (Sherbrooke, QC) had 11 points as the top Canadian offensive player, followed by Gavin Schmitt (Saskatoon, SK) with nine points.
Canada now has one win and two losses, and faces fellow NORCECA member-country Mexico on Saturday evening.