FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA: Canada finished on a high note at the U21 Pan American Cup, picking up the bronze medal today at the Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre at Keyano College in Fort McMurray.
Guatemala was often overwhelmed by the bigger Canadian team, and fell 0-3 (15-25, 17-25, 19-25) in the match for third and fourth place.
Sharone Vernon-Evans (Scarborough, ON) was the match top scorer with 17 points, followed by the consistent Eric Loeppky (Steinbach, MB) with 12 points.
“We are happy; I think our players were very, very tired. It has been a long week for us – six matches in six days, which is very demanding,” explained Canada’s head coach Gino Brousseau. “Today, we just managed the game and I didn’t ask for a big performance. Now we will wait to see if we have qualified for the Worlds.”
After finishing third, Canada will have to play the waiting game to see if the team has a wild-card berth to the FIVB U21 World Championships. Brazil and Cuba qualified from this tournament as the top teams for their respective zones (South America and NORCECA).
Guatemala finishes fourth overall.
“We knew what the result would be, and we’re very happy to have the opportunity to compete at this Pan Am Cup and finish fourth,” said Reider Lucas, the team’s head coach. “I think we played better than Tuesday when we first faced Canada, we’re still making errors that we need to fix. My guys improved and it has been a very good experience for them, we really enjoyed it.”
Brazil outplayed Cuba for the gold. Cuba was not going down without a fight, but eventually Brazil took control for the win in four sets: 1-3 (23-25, 25-17, 18-25, 18-25).
May 16 (local time)
12:00 Cuba v Chile 3-0
18:00 Brazil v Barbados 3-0
20:00 Canada v Guatemala 3-0
16:00 Chile v Puerto Rico 1-3
18:00 Guatemala v Brazil 0-3
20:00 Canada v Barbados 3-0
16:00 Puerto Rico v Cuba 0-3
18:00 Barbados v Guatemala 1-3
20:00 Canada v Brazil 1-3
May 19 (quarterfinals)
18:00 Puerto Rico v Guatemala 2-3
20:00 Canada v Chile 3-1
Puerto Rico v Chile 3-0 (for fifth place)
Brazil v Guatemala 3-0 (semi-final)
Canada v Cuba 1-3 (semi-final)
Barbados v Chile 0-3 (for sixth place)
Guatemala v Canada 0-3 (for bronze)
Cuba v Brazil 1-3 (for gold)