Canada to face U.S. at Défi Sportif

 OTTAWA (April 23, 2013)  - Canada faces Team USA in three sitting volleyball exhibition matches at the Défi Sportif in Montreal from April 25 to April 28. The Défi Sportif is an annual multi-sport event for athletes with a disability which got underway today and is celebrating its 30th year.

The teams will train on Thursday with matches set for Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27 at 4 p.m., and Sunday April 28 at 10 a.m. All matches are at the Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard.

After focussing on rebuilding the program after the 2011 Para Pan American Games where Canada finished third, this is the first competition for the men's national team this year.

The USA is returning from an exhibition tournament in Costa Rica, where they competed against Costa Rica, Mexico and Columbia.

"This is a great opportunity for our team to evaluate where we are at,’’ said Canada’s head coach Ray Sewell. ‘’ We have been training hard over the last couple months, working on our technical and tactical development and we are encouraged with the progress that we have seen in the athletes. We are excited to compete with the USA and see how our new athletes measure up against international competition."

Ian Halliday, Volleyball Canada’s sitting volleyball high performance director, says Canada is a team on the rise in international play and has the potential to achieve the goal of being a strong contender to compete at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

"We identified some program needs after the last quad and I feel that we are on our way to successfully addressing those needs,’’ said Halliday. ‘’We have added some good size to our program and we are looking forward to putting some of our hard work into practice against an experienced USA team. This weekend is a step towards our goals of being one of the top teams in our zone."

All matches and training sessions will be open to the public. If anyone has any questions about sitting volleyball, they can contact ihalliday@volleyball.ca