Canada drops five-set thriller to Puerto Rico at Pan Am Cup

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Canada won’t be on the podium for the first time in three years at the Pan American Cup men’s volleyball tournament after losing a five-set thriller to Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Puerto Rico ranked 15th internationally, took the nearly three-hour long match 25-23, 17-25, 25-22, 26-28, 16-14 and face Argentina in a semifinal on Friday. The Canadians, in their first tournament of the 2010 season, meet the Dominican Republic in the fifth place match on Saturday.

Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon and Fred Winters of Victoria led the Canadians with 19 and 17 points respectively.

Canada won the silver at the last two Pan Am Cups losing to the U.S., in both finals while Puerto Rico were silver medallists in 2007, its only medal showing in the five-year history of the tournament.

In the other quarterfinal, the U.S., defeated the Dominican Republic 25-14, 25-18, 25-18 and will face Brazil in the other semifinal in a battle between the top two rank teams in the world although neither is fielding its top squad.

Canadian roster for the Pan Am Cup: Louis-Pierre Mainville of Notre-Dame-de-l’Isle, Que., Adam Kaminski of Chatham, Ont., Adam Simac of Ottawa, Fred Winters of Victoria, Steve Gotch of Okotoks, Alta., Nicolas Cundy of Edmonton, Dan Lewis of Oakville, Ont., Dallas Soonias of Red Deer, Alta., Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon, Toon Van Lankvelt of Rivers, Man., Dustin Schneider of Brandon, Man., and Olivier Faucher of Plessisville, Que.