Argentina will play for gold in the final of the 12th Men’s Pan American Cup after beating Canada 3-0 (25-23, 25-15 and 25-10) at Gatineau’s Robert Guertin Arena.
Unbeaten in four matches and yet to lose a set in the competition, the South American squad will play their third consecutive final in this tournament, against the winner between Puerto Rico and defending champions Cuba. Winner of six medals, Argentina wants to join a selective group of four countries that have won the continental trophy in its 11-year history.
Canada, fielding a younger team at this tournament after claiming an historic bronze at the FIVB World League, will play for the bronze on Sunday, the same medal they won at the 2016 edition.
In a rematch of the preliminary round two days earlier, both countries played an even first set, with only one point separating both teams at the second technical timeout. The matched stay even at 21, but Argentina found an extra gear to take the win 25-23.
The South American squad that includes eight 2016 Olympians, again found strong opposition from the host country in the first third of the second set. With Canadian libero Olivier Riopel playing in his hometown, Canada trailed 7-8 at the first technical timeout. But Sebastian Sole and Bruno Lima proved to be unstoppable from the hitting line and the block also contributed as Argentina broke away in front 18-11. Canada tried new players today but could not stop their rivals who took the second set 25-15.
Fabian Flores and Pablo Crer were two towers in the net for the Argentinians, who managed to break away early the third set. Their defense also performed at a high level to put them 16-6 in front. The tall and young Canadian kept fighting, but Argentine side proved too strong to win and qualify to Sunday’s final.
Opposite Bruno Lima led Argentina with 14 points as Nicolas Bruno and Pablo Crer contributed with eight each. Blake Scheerhoorn was Canada’s top scorer with eight points.
“We played Argentina, one of the better teams in the world, six sets in total, and three of which we right there with them, and the other three sets we saw the big gap between where we want to be and where we are right now,” explained Larry McKay, Canada’s coach. “I’m not saying we’re at that level because we’re not, but it was exciting to be in there. Their coach (Julio Velasco) is a legend in international volleyball and having him around the gyms in Gatineau all week has been tremendous.”
Argentina’s coach Velasco said : “Canada usually started well, but they lack experience and make many mistakes. That made our job easier, but our team also played well. We need to improve certain things, especially in the opening set. …. We haven’t played in a long time. I don’t want to predict who will win the final, but will be a better match to prepare for the South American Championships.”
NOTE: Match starting times for 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
July 28 – quarterfinals
Canada – Dominican Republic 1-3
Puerto Rico – United States 3-1
July 29 – classification and semifinals
Mexico – Dominican Republic 1-3
Venezuela – United States 3-0
Argentina – Canada 3-0
Cuba – Puerto Rico (in progress)
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