Canadian connection put Turkish pro squad in volleyball Champions League Final Four

 OTTAWA – Canadian national team coach Glenn Hoag of Gatineau, Que., led Turkey’s Arkas Izmir to its first final four appearance in the men’s volleyball Champions League following an incredible comeback victory over Novosibirsk, Russia.

The Champions League is a three-month tournament that determines the top pro team in Europe.

Hoag’s squad, which also includes Canadian national team players Justin Duff of Winnipeg and Gord Perrin of Creston, B.C., were initially swept 3-0 in the first of the two match series last week in the Siberian city.  

However back home with the support of 5,000 fans, Izmir took the second match 25-27, 18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 16-14.  This evened the series and forced a golden set that Izmir won 15-11 to advance to the final four tournament which starts March 17 in Poland.

Duff contributed six points to the win making an appearance in every set while Perrin added five playing the last three sets.

Another Canadian will also be in that final four.  Trentino, Italy, which includes Steve Brinkman of Bowmanville, Ont., also needed a golden set to defeat compatriot Macerata.  Each team had won its matches 3-0.

In the women’s Champions League, Canadian national team star Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., also needed an exciting ending to make it to the final four with Villa Cortese.  Pavan’s team won the opening match last week 3-1 over Bergamo then fell 3-2 in the second match forcing a golden set that Villa Cortese won 15-11.

Pavan produced 23 points in the win.  She is fifth in league scoring and also fifth in spiking.