Canada cracks top-five in World League
MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina – After a remarkable victory over Olympic champion Russia on Thursday, Canada’s national men’s volleyball team lost 25-18, 30-28, 25-20 to world number-one Brazil in the FIVB World League Final tournament.
Brazil and Russia move on from Group D to the semis along with Italy and Bulgaria from Group E. Canada will finish fifth overall its best ever result in World League play.
"We showed we can play on the big stage in the world and have the ability to beat great teams in the future,’’ said Canadian scoring ace Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon.
Fred Winters of Victoria led the Canadian attack with 12 points while Schmitt and Gord Perrin of Creston, B.C., added 10 apiece as Canada completed its first ever appearance in the World League Final, in the event’s 24-year history.
‘’We overcame a lot of pressure to win our group and make it to the final,’’ said Schmitt. ‘’We won seven games in a row and the last one against Russia which is great, really big for us.’’
Attacker Justin Duff of Winnipeg says Canada needs to be nearly flawless to beat a powerhouse like Brazil.
"We made a lot of mistakes and if you're going to give Brazil a few points, they're going to take it,’’ said Duff. ‘’It's disappointing because I don't think we played as well as we could today. We want to continue our progress and not be seen as the Cinderella Story, but as one of the good teams in the world."
The Canadians reached the tournament Final Round by placing first in group C during the preliminary round with a record of eight wins and two losses. They had won seven straight matches before facing Brazil.
Team Canada roster for 2013 FIVB World League Final men’s volleyball tournament:
Players: Dustin Schneider, Brandon, Man.; Josh Howatson, Victoria; Louis-Pierre Mainville, Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot, Que.; Dallas Soonias, Red Deer, Alta.; Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon; Blair Bann, Edmonton; Dan Lewis, Oakville, Ont.; Fred Winters, Victoria; Gord Perrin, Creston, B.C.; Toon Van Lankvelt, River, Man.; Jason Derocco, East St. Paul, Man.; Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary; Justin Duff, Winnipeg; Adam Simac, Ottawa; Graham Vigrass, Calgary.
Head coach: Glenn Hoag, Sherbrooke, Que.
Assistant coaches: Vincent Pichette, Gatineau, Que.; Georges Laplante, Montreal.
Team manager : Julien Boucher, Quebec City
Statistician: Murat Haktanir, Izmir, Turkey
Physiotherapist : Mathieu Seguin, Hawkesbury, Ont.