Curitiba, Brazil, July 5, 2017 – Canada’s young opposite Sharone Vernon-Evans played a key role with a match-high total of 14 points in the team’s victory over Russia by 3-0 (25-23, 29-27, 25-17) at the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League Finals in Curitiba today. Canada will advance to the semis, which are held on Friday.
“It’s nice to help my team, and I’m just trying to implement what my coaches have told me to do,” said Vernon-Evans, who at 18, is the youngest player in the tournament. “And I’m hoping to continue to improve as we move into the semi-finals.”
Teammate and captain Gordon Perrin, and Stephen Maar, both had 12 points today. Russia’s top scorer was Egor Kliuka – that team’s only player with double figures, as he reached 11 points.
The first two sets were nail-biters, but Canada managed the wins by two points each time. Canada’s confidence showed in the third and the team won the final set by a decisive eight points.
“We are very happy,” said Canada’s head coach Stephane Antiga. “I’m not sure it was our best game, but one more time, it’s not easy (in this tournament). We made fewer mistakes today (compared with yesterday’s 3-1 loss to Brazil) and played some good volleyball. The first two sets were hard and then I think we took advantage of the lead. It’s comforting to know that we are in the semi-final.”
Canada not only repeated the feat of four years ago, at the 2013 Finals in Mar del Plata, Argentina, when they downed Russia at an unforgettable five-set match, but also gave shape to their best ever World League performance so far as they have already secured a semi-final berth.
Said Perrin, a 2016 Olympian: “It’s very exciting for us to reach the semi-final. Our goal coming into the final six was to reach the semis, and we’ve achieved that, and now we will fight for a medal with everybody else in the final four.”
Perrin also commended Vernon-Evans’ progress in World League.
“We’re very happy with his performance so far… we had a really big gap to fill when Gavin Schmitt retired from the national team. So I didn’t know how long it would take to find a strong opposite. He has a lot to learn and responsibility to gain, but this is definitely the right place to get that, so every time he plays he’ll get better and better.”
Canada’s next match-up is yet to be decided, but it will take place on Friday, July 07.