Heartbreaking loss for Canada to open junior men’s Pan Am Cup

PANAMA CITYCanada lost to Chile in five sets Wednesday to open the eight-country Pan Am Cup junior men’s volleyball tournament.

The nearly two hour marathon finished 15-25, 25-19, 28-26, 17-25, 15-11.

Nicholas Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que., led the Canadian attack with 23 points while Tommy Belisle of Quebec City added 12 and Daniel Moreau of Sherbrooke, Que., 10.

Canada and Chile are in Group B with Puerto Rico and Mexico. Group A is comprised of Panama, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Honduras. The Canadians face Mexico on Thursday and Puerto Rico on Friday. 

The top team in each Group gets a bye to the semifinals while second and third place must play a quarterfinal on Saturday. The semis are Sunday and the placement matches Monday.

The Canadian team selections were decided following a 47-player try-out camp that was held recently at the men’s national training centre in Gatineau, Que.

The roster features seven players from the Canadian team that won the silver medal last summer at the NORCECA (North and Central America and Caribbean) championships in Gatineau including Hoag, the tournament MVP. That result qualified Canada for this year’s world juniors.

Also from that 2010 team are Jay Olmstead of Edmonton, Bélisle, Tristan Aubry and Lucas VanBerkel, both of Edmonton, Tyler (TJ) Sanders of London, Ont., and Branden Schmidt of Winton, Alta.

The others selected to the 2011 squad are Brett Wiess of Winnipeg, Moreau, Braden McLean of Birch Hills, Sask., Alex Davis of White Rock, B.C., Bradley Kufske of Abbotsford, B.C., Derek Thiessen of Coquitlam, B.C., and Jarron Mueller of Calgary.

Following the Junior Pan Am Cup, the squad heads to Argentina just prior to the World Junior Championship for final tune-up matches before arriving in Brazil on July 30.

The men’s national junior volleyball team sorted by province:

Alberta: Tristan Aubry, Edmonton; Jay Olmstead, Edmonton; Lucas VanBerkel, Edmonton; Branden Schmidt, Winton; Jarron Mueller, Calgary.

B.C.: Alex Davis, White Rock; Bradley Kufske, Abbotsford; Derek Thiessen, Coquitlam.

Manitoba: Brett Wiess, Winnipeg.

Ontario: Tyler (TJ) Sanders, London.

Quebec: Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke; Daniel Moreau, Sherbrooke; Tommy Bélisle, Quebec City.

Saskatchewan: Braden McLean, Birch Hills.

Head coach: Georges Laplante, Montreal

Assistant coaches: Greg Barthel, Regina and Brad Poplawski, Edmonton.

More information: www.volleyball.ca and www.norceca.org