Antwerp, Belgium – In its first year in the top group of FIVB World League, the Canadian men’s team has advanced to the Final Six of this major international tournament.
“I am very proud of how our team fought for every point in the past three weekends,” said Canada’s head coach Stephane Antiga. “The players should be very happy with what they accomplished so far in Group 1. We are looking forward to going to Brazil!”
Canada beat Italy in Antwerp, Belgium, in its final weekend of pool play 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-14, 25-22) today (June 18). “We didn’t start well, but we fought to come back,” said Antiga.
Stephen Maar stepped up for Canada with 20 points, followed by 18-year-old Sharone Vernon-Evans, who looked confident while contributing 16 points.
Canada finished pool play with five wins and four losses, and was aided by the United States’ 3-1 win over Poland today leaving Poland with four wins and five losses. France was the top performer in pool play with eight wins and only one loss.
The Final Six will take place from July 4 to 8 in Brazil. The six teams in the finals will be split into two pools of three and each play two matches. The top two teams in each pool will progress to the semifinals and finals.
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)
Nicholas 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