Canada upsets U.S., in men’s volleyball at Pan Am Games

GUADALAJARA – Spencer Leiske of Lacombe, Alta., scored 36 points to lead Canada to an amazing 21-25, 25-23, 37-39, 35-33, 15-12 victory over the United States in men’s volleyball action on Tuesday at the Pan American Games.

With the victory, the Canadians kept their medal hopes alive evening their round robin record at 1-1. Brazil leads Group A at 2-0, the Americans and Canadians follow at 1-1 and Puerto Rico is 0-2. The top-three in both pools advance.

‘’It feels really good to get the win,’’ said Ciaran McGovern of Grande Prairie, Alta., who was a defensive standout and added three blocks and a service ace to the scoresheet. ‘’The Americans played great but we played even better. We converted our chances when we had to.’’

Canada, is fielding its full time national training centre squad while its national team players are fulfilling their professional commitments overseas while the U.S., one of the powerhouses in the sport, has fielded a university all star team.

The match was marked by two incredible sets, the third and the fourth. The Canadians and Americans took turns squandering match point in the third while in the fourth the Americans appeared headed for victory leading 20-14 at one point.

‘’The guys stayed patient,’’ said Canada’s head coach Vincent Pichette. ‘’We knew we had a big challenge ahead of us. We always told the guy we were not going to evaluate wins and losses but rather their performances. And I think we stayed focus on the task at hand the whole game.’’

Tyler Santoni of Kingston, Ont., added 18 points for the victors, Jacob Kilpatrick of Saint John, N.B., 12 and Reid Halpenny of Grand Bend, Ont., 10.

Canada concludes the round robin Wednesday against Puerto Rico which lost to the U.S., in five sets Monday and fell to Brazil Tuesday. 

Canadian men’s volleyball team roster for the Pan American Games October 15-29 in Guadalajara, Mexico:

Players: Ciaran McGovern, Grande Prairie, Alta.; Spencer Leiske, Lacombe, Alta.; Tyler Santoni, Kingston, Ont.; Sander Ratsep, London, Ont.; Jacob Kilpatrick, Saint John, N.B.; Blair Bann, Edmonton, Alta; Max Burt, Gander, N.L.; Devon Parkinson, Victoria, BC; Reid Halpenny, Grand Bend, Ont.; Tanner Nault, Sherwood Park, Alta.; Louis-Pierre Mainville, Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot, Que; Kevin Miller, Brandon, Man.

Head coach: Vincent Pichette

Team Manager: Julien Boucher

Assistant Coach: Denis Gaboury

Statistician: Christopher Galbraith