Canada beats Costa Rica in sitting volleyball opener at Défi Sportif

MONTREAL – Canada overcame two big deficits in the second set en route to a 25-9, 25-22, 25-27, 25-21 victory over Costa Rica in its opening match in men’s sitting volleyball at the Défi Sportif multi games event for athletes with a disability.

Both squads are preparing for the Para PanAm Games and Paralympic qualification in Guadalajara, Mexico this November.

After an easy first set victory, Canada was trailing by 16-9 at one point in the second set. Jose Rebelo of Montreal rang off three consecutive aces to bring Canada to within two at 18-16.

A kill by Doug Learoyd of Calgary tied the set 19-19. Learoyd also put Canada ahead for the first time 22-21 with a service ace. Rebelo's kill at 24-22 gave Canada a 2-0 set lead. The Canadians returned the favour in the third squandering leads but bounced back in the fourth once again highlighted by Rebelo’s strong serving.

"I was impressed at how Costa Rica improved as the match went on,’’ said Canada’s head coach Ian Halliday. ‘’They looked nervous playing in their first international match but settled down after the first set and made us work hard to earn our points."  

The Canadians also play matches on Saturday and Sunday. This is the first time sitting volleyball is on the Défi Sportif program.

Canada's Roster for this event:

Head Coach: Ian Halliday (Calgary, AB)

Assistant Coach: Ray Sewell (Toronto, ON)

Therapist: Hilary Beck (Calgary, AB)

Athletes: José Rebelo (Montreal, QC), Jason Quast (Toronto, ON), Doug Learoyd (Calgary, AB), Mikael Bartholdy (Calgary, AB), Larry Matthew (St. Alberta, AB), Eric Dechaine (St. Lina, AB), Chad Drummond (Edmonton, AB), Brad Quast (Edmonton, AB).