Canadian comeback fall short in World League loss to Finland

 KATOWICE, Poland (June 3, 2012) - Finland sealed a marathon 3-2 (25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 26-28, 15-8) win over Canada to conclude second round play in Group B of the FIVB World League men’s volleyball tournament.

Finland's Mikko Oivanen topped all scorers with 33 points, while the best scorer for Canada was Toontje Van Lankvelt of Rivers, Man., with 19 points.  Gord Perrin of Creston, B.C., added 17 points and Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon 16.

"These two teams are on the same level, so the next two matches will probably be similar,’’ said Canadian team captain Fred Winters of Victoria.   ‘’We showed a really good fight after losing 0-2, it was a team effort. I thing the match was good, very competitive in general. Our reception was good, so I am happy."

Both teams started the match well, playing on a point-by-point basis until the first technical time out after which Finland gained a three-point advantage (10-7). The Canadians did not give up and moved closer, but it was not enough as Finland took the set 25-23.

Finland carried their momentum into the second, quickly jumping ahead and they were leading 8-4 at the first time out. They maintained control throughout the set and picked it up 25-19 as they had a superior reception and defence.

Canada tried to regain control by changing half of the line-up in the third set and the move paid off as they gained a slight advantage, but the play continued on a point-by-point basis. It was Canada who showed better focus in the end, winning the set 25-23 setting the overall score at 2-1. The Canadian receiver Van Lankvelt who replaced Winters was key for his team with an outstanding spike efficiency at 80 per cent.

‘’We lost the first two sets very easily,’’ said Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag.  ‘’We had to make some changes and replacements and I am proud of the result. We fought for every point. We lost in the end because of small problems."

The play in set four was again fierce with both teams determined to stay in control. The score stayed close throughout before a thrilling ending and some impressive digs on both sides saw Canada take the set 28-26.

The tie-break illustrated the level of motivation on both sides – the score stayed tight with a slight advantage for Finland. They managed to jumped out to a three-point lead at 10-7 as the Canadians lost their concentration as mistakes crept into their game. Finland extended the advantage and took the set 15-8 and the entire match 3-2

Canada has now dropped four matches in a row in World League action after winning its first two. It heads to Brazil next weekend for the third of four stops in the preliminary round.

ROSTER

Canadian team roster for Group B second round in World League men’s volleyball June 1-3 in Kartowice, Poland

Players: Dan Lewis, Oakville, Ont.; Gord Perrin, Creston, B.C.; Steve Brinkman, Oakville, Ont.; Fred Wnters, Victoria; Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon; Dallas Soonias, Red Deer, Alta.; Josh Howatson, Victoria; Dustin Schneider, Brandon, Man.; Nicholas Cundy, Edmonton; Toon Van Lankvelt, Rivers, Man.,; Justin Duff, Winnipeg; Adam Kaminski, Chatham, Ont.; Adam Simac, Ottawa; Alexandre Gaumont-Casias, Marieville, Que.

Head coach: Glenn Hoag, Gatineau, Que.

Assistant coach: Vincent Pichette, Gatineau, Que.

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For more information: www.volleyball.ca and www.fivb.org