Canada’s men’s team opens Wagner tournament in Poland

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    Canada’s senior men’s team dropped its first contest of the Hubert Jerzy Wagner Memorial Tournament in Poland to Russia 1-3 (23-25, 27-29, 25-22, 17-25) today.

    “We were very close in the two first sets, so we could have won – we had an opportunity to win,” said Canada’s coach Stephane Antiga. “Russia played with new players. They played with (Maxim) Mikhailov, who is their best right side and they played with their top middle (Artem) Volvich and their best setter, (Sergey) Grankin. So this team is better than the Russian team we played in Brazil (when Canada won 3-0 in the World League finals).”

    With Russia leading 2-0, Antiga made several substitutions to rest some of his starters. “We had some trouble because (Graham) Vigrass got injured in the very beginning of the game and we don’t know yet how bad it is, and (Jason) DeRocco was sick. And then we won the third, which was good. Everyone was focused and played pretty well, so that’s positive,” said Antiga, who is the former Polish National Team coach. “We’re ready for tomorrow’s match against Poland, which will be amazing with 10,000 fans.”

    Canadian middle blocker Vigrass suffered a hand injury during the match and was treated at hospital. As well, DeRocco suffered an illness, and is also being treated in hospital.  No further updates are available at this time.

    The Wagner Memorial Tournament began in 2003, and is held in the memory of longtime Polish coach Hubert Jerzy Wagner, who won the 1974 FIVB Men’s World Championship, the Olympic gold in 1976 and silver medals at the European Championships in 1975 and 1983. Canada last played in this invitational tournament in 2006.

    The 2017 Canadian squad features 12 players who won the bronze medal at this year’s World League Group 1 finals. Canada recently gained two spots in the world ranking, up to sixth from eighth after the team’s impressive World League performance.

    Roster:
    1 – TJ Sanders, London, ON (setter)
    3 – Steve Marshall, Abbotsford, BC (outside hitter)
    4 – Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC (outside hitter)
    9 – Jason DeRocco, Winnipeg, MB (outside hitter)
    10 – Sharone Vernon-Evans, Scarborough, ON (opposite)
    11 – Daniel Jansen Vandoorn, Langley, BC (middle blocker)
    12 – Lucas Van Berkel, Edmonton, AB (middle blocker)
    13 – Ryley Barnes, St. Paul, AB (outside hitter)
    15 – Bryan Duquette, St. Thomas, ON (libero)
    17 – Graham Vigrass, Calgary, AB (middle blocker)
    18 – Bradley Gunter, Comox, BC (opposite)
    19 – Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB (libero)
    20 – Arthur Szwarc, Toronto, ON (middle blocker)
    21 – Brett Walsh, Calgary, AB (setter)

    Head coach: Stephane Antiga
    Assistant coaches: Dan Lewis, Georges Laplante
    Therapist: Melissa Healy
    Statistician: Lionel Bonnaure
    Team manager: Julien Boucher

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