Canada suffers its first World League loss

NOVI SAD, Serbia: Canada fell to hosts and 2016 World League champions Serbia 1-3 (23-25, 21-25, 25-20, 20-25) today. Canada ends its opening weekend of the 2017 edition of World League with two wins and one loss.

In a tight four-set match, Canada had its bright spots – including a decisive third-set win – but couldn’t contain Serbian star spikers Aleksandar Atanasijevic and Marko Ivovic.

Canada held its own early in the fourth, with two consecutive aces by Graham Vigrass giving Canada an 8-5 advantage at the technical time out. But home-crowd favourite Serbia found its rhythm and quickly tied things up at 11. Powerful spikes by Atanasijevic and Ivovic, coupled with unforced errors by Canada, allowed Serbia to claim the set, 25-20.

Ivovic finished the night with 16 points while Atanasijevic’s tally was 15. Stephen Maar contributed 16 points for Canada. Captain Gord Perrin and newcomer Sharone Vernon-Evans had 15 points each.

This weekend, Canada defeated Belgium and the U.S., both in five sets, before falling to Serbia today. The team now travels to Bulgaria to face Brazil, Bulgaria and Poland!  The final weekend of group play will be held in Belgium the following week.

Canada’s coach Stephane Antiga told “I am satisfied with our overall performance in this tournament. Serbia played much better than yesterday (against Belgium), so we had a really difficult job. In the end, we have grown as a team and I expect us to be much better in the future matches.”

Official World League site:
Web casts:

Athletes (travelling roster):

TJ Sanders – Setter (London, ON)
Brett Walsh – Setter (Calgary, AB)
Blair Bann – Libero (Edmonton, AB)
Steve Marshall – Libero (Abbotsford, BC)
Graham Vigrass – Middle (Calgary, AB)
Lucas Van Berkel – Middle (Edmonton, AB)
Arthur Szwarc – Middle (Toronto, ON)
Daniel Jansen VanDoorn – Middle (Langley, BC)
Jason DeRocco – Left Side (Winnipeg, MB)
Gord Perrin – Left Side (Creston, BC)
Stephen Maar – Left Side (Aurora, ON)
Ryley Barnes – Left Side (Edmonton, AB)
Sharone Vernon-Evans – Opposite (Scarborough, ON)
Brad Gunter – Opposite (Courtenay, BC)

Stephane Antiga, head coach
Daniel Lewis, assistant coach
Georges Laplante, assistant coach
Lionel Bonnaure, statistician
Jean-Sebastien Hartell, therapist
Julien Boucher, team manager