Czechs sweep Canadians in men’s volleyball

ZVITAVY, Czech Republic – Canada lost 25-19, 26-24, 25-23 to the Czech Republic on Thursday in men’s international volleyball.

Canada, ranked 20th in the world, and the Czechs, ranked 36th, are tuning up for the FIVB World Championships set for September 25 to October 10 in Italy. Thursday’s match was a third and last of a series between the two countries. The Czechs won all three matches.

“We have our work cut out for us,” said Canadian national team coach Glenn Hoag of Gatineau, Que. “I don’t think we expected to lose all three matches. Again the sets were close but we couldn’t find a way to finish. We had lot of missed opportunities on the attack and that was the difference.”

Adam Simac of Ottawa led Canada with 11 points, Louis-Pierre Mainville of Notre-Dame-de l’Isle, Que., added nine and Fred Winters of Victoria eight.

“Everybody knows that it’s hard work that will get us out this funk,” said Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon, Canada’s top scorer in the previous two matches. “These preparation matches were very important and it would have been nice to get into a habit of winning.”

The Canadian squad has also been hit by a flu virus on this trip. Hoag and team manager Julien Boucher as well as players Toon Van Lankvelt of Rivers, Man., and Justin Duff of Winnipeg have been the most affected. Van Lankvelt did not play Thursday while Duff made a brief appearance.

The Canadian team heads for its final preparation stage in Bled, Slovenia, about a two-hour car ride from Trieste, Italy where it will play its round robin matches at the world championships.