Canada loses opening match to World League host Brazil

Canada’s fighting spirit not enough to hold off Brazil

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Brazil beat Canada 3-1 (25-21, 17-25, 25-19, 25-19) in the opener of the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League Finals at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba.

Brazilian opposite Wallace De Souza topped the scoring charts with 18 points, supported by teammates Ricardo Lucarelli and Lucas Saatkamp, who added 12 and 11 respectively. Canada had a team effort in the scoring department – Graham Vigrass (15), Gordon Perrin (14) and Sharone Vernon-Evans (13).

“I thought we started right in the match, and played well with momentum,” said Canada’s captain Gord Perrin, “but it was too difficult with Brazil’s block, and we made too many errors in the end to have a chance to win the match, but we kept it close.”

Canada came out fighting – losing a good lead in the first; and then bouncing back to decisively win the second set.  But the 2016 Olympic gold medal team used its experience to gain its composure and hold off Canada’s challenges to please the approximately 10,000 fans with the win.

The matches are being held in a football (soccer) stadium that was one of the venues for the 2014 World Cup, and it is colder than most volleyball tournament venues as it is the middle of winter in Brazil.

“It was fun to play in the big gym,” said Perrin, who joked about Canadians having no issue with the cold. “Obviously it’s exciting to play against Brazil – the best team in the world – and a lot of the young guys haven’t played that many international matches, so I’m happy to have had this experience.”

The result awarded Brazil three points and the top sport in Pool J1. While the crowd-favourites are now only one step away from the semifinals, Canada is in a do-or-die situation as the North Americans must defeat Russia on Day 2 first game, at 3.05 PM (local).

“Today’s match was a good experience,” said Canada’s coach Stephane Antiga, “We are ready for our game against Russia tomorrow.”

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

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

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