Canada’s men’s squad photo by Rob Hislop

Canada’s men’s squad beat Mexico today (25-20, 25-18, 25-20) to cap off a friendly series with a perfect record for the host country at the Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.

“It was super cool. It’s an awesome experience playing in front of our friends and family here at home,” said  Eric Loeppky of Steinbach, MB, who played for Canada in the Junior Worlds last year and contributed 15 points to tonight’s effort.

“It was nice to get into a rhythm playing Mexico a couple times this week. They are a little bit smaller, but very experienced. They’ve got a lot of shots, and they play very smart. It’s a little different than the junior level, where the players don’t have this kind of experience. These guys obviously know how to play; they were a couple tough matches.”

The Canadians also won a bonus set today, and the swept the previous match (on Wednesday) 3-0.

Ryley Barnes, a native of Edmonton, said: “It was a good match. We came in with a few goals – some holes in our game we wanted to fix…. It’s nice to see some guys with good energy out there, and I think the team is happy with how we played today.”

“This is all great. I love being back in Edmonton. … Getting to play again in front of friends and family again is a blast.”

Mexican head coach Jorge Azair was satisfied with the experience: “Some of the players are pretty young and not very mature, which showed at the end of the set. It’s a new team and they’re young. We are going to focus on the Central American Games in July, and we will focus on the defense and the breaking points, the points that count the most.”

The men were playing as part of Edmonton 2018 presented by Inter Pipeline, which includes the Volleyball Canada Nationals (864 youth teams), the NORCECA Women’s Challenge Cup (a continental National Team tournament) and an exhibition sitting volleyball series with the USA team.

Men’s Roster (vs Mexico in Edmonton)
Jay Blankenau of Sherwood Park, AB
Byron Keturakis of Surrey, BC
Brandon Koppers of Georgetown, ON
Eric Loeppky of Steinbach, MB
Blake Scheerhoorn of Belleville, ON
Ryley Barnes of Edmonton, AB
Alexander Duncan-Thibault of Toronto, ON
Fynnian McCarthy of Lake Country, BC
Max Burt of Gander, NL
Pearce Eshenko of Banff, AB
Danny Demyanenko of Toronto, ON
Justin Duff of Winnipeg, MB
Jeremy Davies of Calgary, AB
Logan Brennan of Bragg Creek, AB

Women’s Challenge Cup Schedule
May 19
CUB vs PUR (16:00)
CAN vs TTO (19:00)

May 20
Bronze match (16:00)
Gold match (19:00)