Canada remains undefeated at NORCECA men’s volleyball championships

MIYAGUEZ, Puerto Rico – Canada defeated St. Lucia 25-18, 25-14, 25-13 on Tuesday afternoon in round robin action at the eight-country NORCECA (North and Central America and Caribbean) men’s volleyball championships.  The tournament is a qualifying event for the World Cup final later this year which is an Olympic qualifier.

With the victory, the Canadians improve to two wins and no losses for first place in Group A. Canada, ranked 22nd in the world defeated number-21 Mexico in four sets in its opening match on Monday evening.

‘’It wasn’t a very difficult match for us,’’ said Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag. St. Lucia is the lowest seeded team here at number-87 in the world. ‘’It gave us an opportunity to play everybody and get all our players into the tournament.’’

Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon led all players with 14 points, Justin Duff of Winnipeg added 11 and Nicholas Cundy of Edmonton six. Duff and Schmitt both earned two of their points on services aces and two points on blocks.

The Canada-St-Lucia match was the first of second day action. Other matches on the slate for Tuesday are Puerto Rico (1-0) vs Mexico (0-1) while in Group B, Trinidad and Tobago (0-1) plays Cuba (1-0) and the U.S., (1-0) face Costa Rica (0-1).

Canada’s next match is Wednesday night against world number-15 Puerto Rico in what could determine top spot in Group A. The first place team in each pool gets a bye to the semifinals on Friday. The second and third place teams cross over in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Canada swept Puerto Rico in a two-match series in Kingston, Ont., to qualify for the 2012 World League season.

‘’We expect a tough match against Puerto Rico,’’ said Hoag. ‘’They are a good team and they will have home court advantage. We are happy with how our tournament has unfolded so far. There are areas that we need to improve and that’s what we’ll discuss in our meeting.’’

The top-two teams here earn a berth at the World Cup final November 20 to December 4 in Tokyo. The top-three teams at the World Cup final qualify for the Olympic Games.

Canadian roster for the NORCECA men’s volleyball championships August 29 to September 3, 2011 in Miyaguez, Puerto Rico

Players: Steve Brinkman, Bowmanville, Ont.; Nicholas Cundy, Edmonton; Josh Howatson, Victoria; Dan Lewis, Oakville, Ont.; Gord Perrin, Creston, B.C.; Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon; Dustin Schneider, Brandon, Man.; Adam Simac, Ottawa; Alexandre Gaumont-Casias, Marieville, Que.; Toon Van Lankvelt, River, Man.; Fred Winters, Victoria; Justin Duff, Winnipeg.

Head coach: Glenn Hoag, Gatineau, Que.

Assistant coach: Vincent Pichette, Gatineau

Team manager; Julien Boucher, Quebec City.



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