Canada beats Japan, now waits

 OSAKA, Japan, (July 6, 2013) - Canada defeated Japan 3-1 (25-11, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20) for their fifth straight victory in men’s volleyball World League play on Saturday.  Now the Canadians must wait for the result between the Netherlands and Finland later Saturday (12:30 p.m. EDT) to see if they still have a shot at first place in Group C and a berth in the World League finals.


On Saturday, Canada (7-2)  rode their power game to victory, with their attackers pounding spikes relentlessly and their blockers playing strongly at the net.

Gord Perrin (in photo) was the top scorer for Canada with 18 points. Dallas Soonias added 15 in the win.

Tatsuya Fukuzawa and Yusuke Ishijima paced Japan with 14 points apiece.

Canada entered Saturday's match still having a mathematical chance at advancing to the finals in Mar del Plata, Argentina, later this month. The Canadians (7-2) are currently second in Group C with 21 points, one behind leader the Netherlands. Canada have won five straight matches, including sweeps of Korea and Finland the past two weeks.

Japan are 3-6 following the defeat and ahead of only South Korea at the bottom of the group.

Only one team from Group C advances. The Netherlands is scheduled to take on Finland again on Saturday.

Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag says his side's blocking was the key to victory.

“We started fairly well,” he said.  “Japan struggled in the beginning. They adjusted well and it was a real battle until the end. We blocked well throughout the match, but did make some mistakes in the third set.

Canada jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set and Japan took a timeout. The Canadians kept the pressure on, boosting their lead to 8-0 at the first technical timeout. Japan got on the board with two quick points after the timeout to make it 8-2. Canada passed well and displayed good blocking defense in moving out to a 12-5 advantage. The margin was 16-6 for Canada at the second TTO. A spike by Soonias gave Canada set point and they took it 25-11 on a reception error by Yu Koshikawa. Perrin and Soonias had six points apiece in the set.

Japan came out stronger in the second set, and the tally was even at 6-6 early on. Canada led 8-6 at the first TTO. A spike by Yusuke Ishijima pulled Japan within 13-12 and they evened the score 13-13 on a return error by Canada. Japan moved ahead 15-14 on a spike by Fukuzawa and led 16-15 at the second TTO. A nice dink by Fukuzawa made it 18-18. A Perrin spike gave Canada a 21-19 lead. Canada took the second set 25-21 on a nice block.

“We played well in the first two sets, but we knew they were going to play better,” said Perrin.  “We are happy with the win and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Japan moved out to an 8-4 lead at the first TTO in the third set via good teamwork and capitalizing on some errors by their opponents. Trailing 9-4, Canada took a timeout to try and regroup. Japan was up 16-12 at the second TTO after Canada sailed a serve long. A spike by Ishijima gave Japan a 20-16 margin. Canada drew within 21-19 and Japan took a timeout. A block by Koshikawa moved Japan within two points of the set at 23-19. Justin Duff soared for a spike and Canada edged closer at 23-22. Fukuzawa's spike made it 24-22 and Japan claimed the set 25-23 on another spike by the star.

“It was an up and down match,” said Canada’s team captain Fred Winters. “We gave them momentum in the third set. We knew they would fight hard. We played well and didn't panic at the end of the sets.

The fourth set was tight from the outset with Canada taking an 8-7 lead into the first TTO. A Fukuzawa spike moved Japan in front 11-10. Canada pulled ahead and were on top 16-14 at the second TTO. Japan tied it at 16-16 but gave back the lead on a service error by Koshikawa. A nice block by Perrin put Canada within sight of the match at 22-19 and Japan called a timeout. Canada closed it out 25-20 on a return error by Japan.

The two teams meet again on Sunday.

Broadcast times:
Canada vs. Japan

Sunday, July 7 @ 01 a.m. EST
Tape delayed on Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific (National) @ 9:30 a.m.; Tape delayed on Sportsnet One @ 9:30 p.m.

Canada’s World League roster for matches July 6-7 in Osaka, Japan.

Players: Dustin Schneider, Brandon, Man.; Josh Howatson, Victoria; Louis-Pierre Mainville, Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile Perrot, Que.; Dallas Soonias, Red Deer, Alta.; Blair Bann, Edmonton; Fred Winters, Victoria; Gord Perrin, Creston, B.C.; Toon Van Lankvelt, River, Man.; Dan Lewis, Oakville, Ont.; Jason Derocco, East St. Paul, Man.; Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary; Justin Duff, Winnipeg; Adam Simac, Ottawa; Graham Vigrass, Calgary.

Head coach: Glenn Hoag, Gatineau, Que.

Assistant coach: Vincent Pichette, Gatineau, Que.

Team manager : Julien Boucher, Quebec City

Statistician : Murat Haktanir

Therapist: Mathieu Séguin

www.volleyball.ca and www.fivb.org