Canada settles for fourth at Universiade

SHENZHEN, China (CIS) – Canada’s search for its third Universiade medal in men’s volleyball came to a disappointing end on Monday evening as the red and white team dropped a 3-1 (25-20, 25-15, 19-25, 25-19) decision to Brazil in the third-place match.

STATISTICS: CAN v.s. BRZ

Despite the loss, the Canadians bettered their sixth position from the last world university games in 2009 in Serbia. After going undefeated in pool play and downing South Korea in four sets in the quarter-finals, Canada ended the competition with back-to-back losses to the Ukraine and Brazil to finish with a 5-2 overall record.

Canada’s two podium finishes in men’s volleyball at the Universiade – both silver medals – came in 1983 in Edmonton and 2007 in Bangkok.

“We executed well tonight, but we played a very talented team that didn’t give us a lot of room and made us pay for every mistake,” said Team Canada and University of Winnipeg head coach Larry McKay. “It’s disappointing right now but when we look at this fourth place, we’ll realize it’s a very good result. It was an honour to represent Canada at this prestigious event.”

One of the more imposing teams in the tournament with seven of 12 players 6-foot-7 or taller – compared to three for Canada – the Brazilians showed their hitting prowess at the net the entire match.

Canada started strong in the opening set jumping to a quick 6-2 lead. Brazil was forced to call a timeout, and then the Wallace Souza show began.

The Brazilian star was the team kill leader and was a hitting machine during the whole set, adding blocks and service winners to his offensive outburst. Brazil led 16-14 at the second technical break and pulled away with consecutive kills by Souza for a 21-16 advantage en route to the 25-20 win.

In the second frame, it was more of the same as Souza dominated with assistance from fellow hitter Rogerio Nougueira. Brazil was never in trouble as the Canadians seemed overmatched and never got closer than four points after the first technical, on its way to a 25-15 loss.