Canadian men’s volleyball team end Down Under tour on high note

MELBOURNE, Australia – Canada’s men’s volleyball team defeated Australia twice in two days including Saturday’s convincing straight set win 25-22, 25-17, 25-16 to conclude its two week tour down under.

The Canadians, preparing for the world championships this September in Italy, also trained in Brisbane and Canberra over the 14 days. They evened the four match series with the Australians at two wins apiece with Saturday’s victory. The Aussies won the opening two matches then Canada roared back with the two victories in Melbourne.

In Saturday’s match, Canada started with Louis-Pierre Mainville of Notre-Dame-de-L’Isle, Que., Justin Duff of Winnipeg, Dallas Soonias of Red Deer, Alta., Dustin Schneider of Brandon, Man., Toon Van Lankvelt of Rivers, Man., Fred Winters of Victoria and Benoit Raymond of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que.

“We had a balanced team attack which was anchored by the serve reception of Winters, Raymond and van Lankvelt,” said Canadian assistant coach Larry McKay.   “Our team block-defense on the right side attack of the Australians was also handled better today.”

Although the first set was the closest, the Canadians led from start to finish up ahead 8-5 and 16-11 at the technical time-outs. The score was close through most of the second set with Canada up 8-7 and 16-13 at the technical time outs before Canada closed out with an 11-4 run to finish the set. In the third, the Canadians outscored the Aussies 13-6 to finish off the match.

“We showed improvement each day,” said McKay.  “The Australians were an impressive team and we used our training time wisely to get our game up to the level we expected of ourselves.”

The Canadian team returns home Sunday-Monday and will a have two week period to train on their own. The team reassemebles at their training base in Gatineau, Que., on July 20 for the final push towards the worlds.

The 14-member Canadian team, lead by head coach Glenn Hoag of Gatineau, Que., is comprised of Louis-Pierre Mainville of Notre-Dame-de-l’Isle, Que., Steve Brinkman of Bowmanville, Ont., Adam Kaminski of Chatham, Ont., Justin Duff of Winnipeg, Dustin Schneider of Brandon, Man., Joshua Howatson of Victoria, Jeremy Wilcox of Calgary, Fred Winters of Victoria, Steve Gotch of Okotoks, Alta., Toon Van Lankvelt of Rivers, Man., Nicholas Cundy of Edmonton, Dallas Soonias of Red Deer, Alta., sh Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon and Benoit Raymond of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que.

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