Argentina confirmed its gold medal ambitions with an unbeaten run in Group B of the 12th Men’s Pan American Cup after defeating Canada 3-0 (27-25, 25-23 and 25-11) at Gatineau’s Robert Guertin Arena on Thursday night.
Runner-up in the last two editions of the continental event, the South American nation aims to join a selective group of four countries that have lifted the crown at least once in the 11-year history of the tournament.
Argentina got off to a good start by taking an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. They stayed in front 16-13, but Canada bounced back to tie and move 17-16 ahead. They had a set point 24-23, but Pablo Crer, Sebastian Solé and Bruno Lima responded from the hitting line to take the win 27-25.
Both teams stayed evenly matched in the second set with Canada getting the edge 8-7 at the first timeout. Argentina bounced back and took the lead 16-13, but Canada kept fighting and managed to tie the set at 21. But a serving and hitting error ensued and it paid the way for the South Americans’ win 25-23.
Argentina took advantage of hitting errors on the Canadian side and Martin Ramos led them to an 8-3 lead at the first timeout. The South Americans kept adding pressure and doubled the lead to 16-8 at the second timeout. Fabian Flores, who joined in the third set, contributed with four points from the middle. Their defense responded and Cristian Poglajen finished it off with two solid spikes to give Argentina a clean 3-0 sweep in all three preliminary matches.
Larry McKay, Canada’s coach, said: “Our concentration on basic skills was better today (compared with the match against Puerto Rico yesterday). We also had some better individual performances today, so that’s a step forward for us …. We’ll now try to get as much rest as we can and come out with a physical game tomorrow.”
The South American squad advance directly to the semifinals on Saturday; along with Cuba from the other pool. Canada will play the Dominican Republic on Friday at 5 pm EDT for a place in the final four. The U.S. plays Puerto Rico at 7 pm.
NOTE: Match starting times for the Sunday (July 30) finals were moved up to 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm EASTERN.
Preliminary Round Results
14:00 Argentina v Puerto Rico 3-0
16:00 Cuba v Dominican Republic 3-1
18:00 United States v Mexico 3-1
20:00 Canada v Venezuela 3-1
14:00 Dominican Republic v United States 3-0
16:00 Argentina v Venezuela 3-0
18:00 Cuba v Mexico 3-0
20:00 Canada v Puerto Rico 3-0
14:00 Mexico v Dominican Republic 1-3
16:00 Puerto Rico v Venezuela 3-2
18:00 United States v Cuba 2-3
20:00 Canada v Argentina 0-3
Byron Keturakis, Surrey, BC (setter)
Gabriel Chancy, Montreal, QC (setter)
Irvan Brar, Surrey, BC (left side)
Brandon Koppers, Georgetown, ON (left side)
Blake Scheerhoorn, Belleville, ON (left side)
Ryan Sclater, Port Coquitlam, BC (left side)
Robert Wojcik, Oshawa, ON (right side)
Casey Schouten, Winnipeg, MB (right side)
Tyler Epp, Saskatoon, SK (middle)
Jordan McConkey, Stratford, ON (middle)
Danny Demyanenko, Toronto, ON (middle)
Max Burt, Gander, NL (middle)
Bryan Duquette, St. Thomas, ON (libero)
Olivier Riopel, Gatineau, QC (libero)
Larry McKay, Head coach
Jason Haldane, Assistant coach
Phil Dixon, Assistant coach
Melissa Healy, Therapist
Julien Boucher, Team manager
Murat Haktanir, Statistician