VARNA, Bulgaria: Coming off an impressive win last night over Bulgaria, Canada couldn’t hold off Poland today in FIVB World League Group 1 play. Poland’s experience showed as they overcame Canada 3-1 (25-21, 27-25, 20-25, 25-19).
Canada is 1-2 over the weekend after losing to Olympic champions Brazil on Friday, and beating the Bulgarians last night. Poland was due for a win after suffering losses to both Brazil and Bulgaria.
“It’s a pity,” said Canada’s coach, Stephane Antiga, pointing out that his squad has three athletes who play left side with injuries. “But we didn’t give up; there were some good moments. This will make things more complicated to advance to the final six (of World League), but this team is learning so much. We’ll see what happens next week.”
Antiga, new to the Canadian team this year, previously coached Poland, including at the time of the team’s 2014 World Championship win.
With Canada’s captain, Gord Perrin, who had a spectacular match last night in the win over Belgium, on the sidelines with an injury, some of the relative newcomers were frustrated against Poland early on, but did gain some composure late in the first to bring it within two points at 22-20. There were also bright spots in the second set and Canada finally looked as if it was making a comeback with a decisive third-set win. However, Poland didn’t let Canada off the hook, regaining control to win the match.
Poland’s Dawid Konarski and Canada’s Ryley Barnes, topped the scoring charts with 15 points each. Bartolomiej Lemanski was impressive on the block and had 12 total points for Poland.
Team Canada’s Nick Hoag, who had 10 points against Poland today, joined the team this week in Europe. “It was not easy – getting the call last Sunday and then coming in as an opposite and playing against Brazil,” said the 2016 Olympian. “I’m still trying to get my rhythm, but it feels good. I’m going to be ready for next weekend.
“We are learning to play with each other, but we’re fighting. We’re a young team, which is nice, and we’re competing against the best, and we’re actually competing and not just getting smacked. We would have liked a few more points this weekend, but we’re happy a win (yesterday).”
Canada now travels to Belgium to face the host country as well as France and Italy.
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)
Nick Hoag – Sherbrooke, QC
Stephane Antiga, head coach
Daniel Lewis, assistant coach
Georges Laplante, assistant coach
Lionel Bonnaure, statistician
Jean-Sebastien Hartell, therapist
Julien Boucher, team manager