Canadian comeback falls just short against Brazil

  

LANGLEY, B.C. (September 28, 2012) – Canada suffered its first loss at the U23 Pan American Cup men’s volleyball tournament on Friday but didn’t go down without a fight.  Brazil took the match 25-19 25-15, 21-25, 24-26, 16-14 at the Langley Events Centre.

The Canadian team, represented by the Trinity Western University Spartans, were led by Jansen Van Doorn with 18 points, including eight kills and nine blocks; Nick Del Bianco, who had a match-high 17 kills and Brad Kufske, who had 15 kills and two blocks.

Trinity Western libero-turned-setter Jarrod Offereins had his best outing at his new position, collecting a match-high 36 running sets.

The win improves Brazil to 3-0 in the tournament while the loss drops Canada to 2-1.  The Canadians are tied in second spot with Argentina.  Canada faces Argentina on Saturday in the last round robin match for both teams.   The winner will face likely face Brazil in the final on Sunday.

“They came out really sharp and put us in a lot of trouble,” Spartans coach Ben Josephson said of the Brazilians. “Our ball control wasn’t good enough to play with them in the first two sets. But then we cleaned up our ball control, which forced them to hit the ball a little harder, which allowed our block to score. It was a game of checkers or chess and it was really fun volleyball to make plays and respond back and forth to each other.”

The Brazilians came out with a strong opening set and were largely in control throughout. With Brazil up 12-11, the visitors went on a 4-1 run that took them into the technical timeout with a four-point edge. While the Spartans got the next two points, Brazil didn’t allow them to get any closer as they wrapped things up by pulling away late and finishing with a six-point win.

In the second, it was more of the same. With the score 17-14 for Brazil, the South Americans put the hammer down and buried the Spartans 25-15.

In the third set, however, the tide turned the Spartans way.                  

With Trinity Western trailing 16-15, the Jansen Van Doorn wall took over. With a devastating block leading the way, the Spartans went on a 7-0 run that got the crowd roaring and the momentum firmly on Trinity Western’s side. From there, the Spartans held on for a 25-21 win.

In the fourth set, Brazil jumped out to a 10-6 lead and looked to be putting an early end to the match. But the Spartans never quit as they went on a 5-1 run, capped by a Kufske kill, to knot the set 11-11. However, each time the Spartans got close, Brazil pulled away, never allowing Trinity Western to take the lead. But with the score 24-22 and Brazil serving for the match, Trinity Western rallied. Scoring four straight points, led by a pair of set-turning kills from Del Bianco, the Spartans sent the match to a fifth set.

In the final set, the Spartans pulled out to a 9-6 lead but in the end couldn’t quite complete the comeback. With Trinity Western serving for the match at 14-13, Brazil roared back with three straight points to win 16-14.

Jarrod Offereins, Canada’s captain said: “Tonight was an unreal experience. Brazil is the best team in the tournament and we were just hoping to have a good game and compete with them and come out strong. It was nice to get some momentum from the crowd. We haven’t had that since nationals and it was fun to have that environment.”

In Friday’s other match, the Dominican Republic defeated Mexico 25-19, 25-19, 25-18.

Both teams conclude their round robin Saturday with Canada playing Argentina at 8 p.m. and Brazil taking on Mexico at 6 p.m.

To buy tickets for the U-23 Pan American Volleyball Cup, go to www.langleyeventscentre.com or go to the TWU Bookstore on the Trinity Western University campus.

All matches for the event are being streamed live and are available on a pay per view basis through the following links:

http://www.langleyeventscentre.com/u23volleyballcup

http://www.playfullscreen.com/player.php?mediaid=13518

For more information: www.norceca.net, www.volleyball.ca, http://twu.ca/athletics/