Puerto Rico’s men’s team swept Canada 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-21) in both teams’ second match of the NORCECA Champions Cup (Men and Women) at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs on Friday.
Puerto Rico led in attacks (42-33). Canada led in aces (6-3) and the teams tied in blocks (5-5). Puerto Rico scored 26 points on Canada errors and committed 20.
Puerto Rico’s Gabriel Garcia led all scorers with 18 points on a match-high 17 kills and one block. His teammate Pelegrin Vargas added 11 points on seven kills, a match-high two blocks and two aces.
Blake Scheerhoorn led Canada with 14 points on 13 kills, one block. Teammate Eric Loeppky added 10 points on six kills and a match-high four aces.
“Puerto Rico played really well. They served so tough and they swung on every ball. Our biggest strength we have is our block and our defense, and they made us not look very good today with that. We take our hat off to them; we have a massive amount of respect for the way they played today. We just didn’t do a good job of scoring,” said Canada’s coach Ryan Marsden.
“We play the U.S. next, who’s really big and physical, and they’re playing at home. We’re going to have to play way better tomorrow than we have this whole tournament or else we could be in trouble again. We’ll go back and regroup.”
On the women’s side, the Dominican Republic’s women got over a first-set loss to beat Canada 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-13, 25-20) also on Friday.
Dominican Republic had four players score in double figures led by Yonkaira Pena Isabel with 18 points on 16 kills, one block and one ace. Erasma Moreno added 15 points.
Canada was led by Kiera Van Ryk, who led all scorers with 25 points on 23 kills, two blocks and one ace.
Dominican Republic led in kills (65-55) and aces (5-4) and scored 25 points on Canada errors while committing 15. Canada led in blocks (8-4).
Canada’s coach Shannon Winzer said: “The first set was pretty good, and to be honest, the second set where we lost narrowly was pretty good volleyball as well. It was much better than last night (vs USA). Then we sort of hit a road block and we stopped playing. We got a little bit flat, lost some momentum and that was it.
“I think Dominican stepped it up. I think when they sub on number 23 (Gaila González)…they did that last night as well [against Puerto Rico], she’s kind of a gamechanger for them. She uses the block really well, and it’s so hard to play against a hitter who challenges the block that well and scores consistently against the block. Having said that, we just kind of stopped having that fight…”