Canada defeats Puerto Rico at Olympic qualifier

 LONG BEACH, Calif. (May 8, 2012) – Toon Van Lankvelt of Rivers, Man., scored a game high 16 points Tuesday as Canada dumped Puerto Rico 25-19, 25-20, 25-13 at the Olympic qualifying tournament in men’s volleyball.

Canada improves its record to 2-0 in round robin play and will face world number-five Cuba for first spot in its group and a bye to the semifinal on Wednesday at 9 p.m. (EDT). The tournament champion earns a ticket to the 2012 London Olympics.

‘’It’s nice to get these wins, we’re only going to get better,’’ said middle blocker Steve Brinkman of Bowmanville, Ont., playing in his 213th international match for Canada.  ‘’We are really finding our rhythm and are excited about the rest of this tournament.’’

Although Canada is ranked 18th in the world and Puerto Rico 17th, the Canadians dominated the match with a strong blocking game.  Led by Van Lankvelt and Brinkman with six points on the block each, the Canadians outblocked their opponents 15-3.

‘’Our blocking system continued to work well tonight,’’ said Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag.  ‘’It really frustrated Puerto Rico.  Our guys stayed concentrated and respected the game plan.  There was some concern with our service game, but overall I’m really pleased.’’

Schmitt continued to fire missiles on the attack adding 14 points for the Canadians while Libero Dan Lewis of Oakville, Ont., displayed amazing ball control and retrieval abilities.

‘’Dan is our leader on defence,’’ said Hoag. ‘’He really keeps it organized and he was really well concentrated tonight and had a super game.’’

Brinkman likes the consistency on the Canadian team.

‘’Every year we are finding it easier and easier to find our game early in the season,’’ he said.  ‘’The training we have done with this group over the last couple of years has really paid off.  I’ve been with some great Canadian teams, but this group I feel is something special.’’

In other matches, Tuesday, Cuba defeated the Dominican Republic 25-15, 25-21, 25-15 and Mexico beat Trinidad and Tobago 25-18, 19-25, 25-21, 25-22. The U.S., played Costa Rica in Tuesdays late match.

The first place teams in each group get a bye to the semis while second and third cross over in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

All matches are carried live with play-by-play at www.usavlive.com

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SCHEDULE

 

May 8:Canada vs Puerto Rico, 9 p.m. (EDT)

May 9: Canada vs Cuba, 9 p.m. (EDT)

May 10: quarterfinals

May 11: semifinals

May 12: finals

 

 

WEBCASTS

 

www.usavlive.com

 

TOURNAMENT WEBSITE

 

www.norceca.org

 

 

TEAM CANADA ROSTER

 

Left Sides: Nicholas Cundy, Edmonton; Toontje Van Lankvelt, Rivers, Man.; Fred Winters, Victoria; Gord Perrin, Creston, B.C.

 

Middle Blockers: Justin Duff, Winnipeg; Steve Brinkman, Bowmanville, Ont.; Adam Kaminski, Chatham, Ont.

 

Right Sides: Dallas Soonias, Red Deer, Alta.; Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon.

 

Setters: Josh Howatson, Victoria; Dustin Schneider, Brandon, Man;

 

Liberos: Dan Lewis, Oakville, Ont.

 

Head Coach: Glenn Hoag

Asst Coach: Vincent Pichette

Team Manager: Julien Boucher

Statistician: Christopher Galbraith

Physiotherapist: Mathieu Seguin