Marshall, Hoag star in Universiades win


KAZAN, Russia (July 7, 2013) – Outside hitters Steven Marshall and Nicholas Hoag combined for 29 kills in a 3-1 (21-25, 28-26, 25-22, 25-17) Canadian men’s volleyball victory over Mexico Sunday at the 27th Summer Universiade.


Marshall of Abbotsford, B.C. (Trinity Western University) led the winners with 16 kills, while Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que. (Sherbrooke College) tallied another 13. Both were equally as brilliant on defence with Marshall adding 10 digs and two blocks and Hoag another eight digs. 


With the win, the Canadian men remain perfect with a 2-0 record in Group D competition. They defeated the United Arab Emirates 3-0 in their opener on Saturday.


“Mexico was pretty small and picked up a lot of balls on defence,” said Marshall, who has also competed internationally in beach volleyball.  “They had a lot of energy and made us earn a lot of points. It was good for us to see that challenge to prepare for later in the tournament.”


Mexico started the first set capitalizing on three Canadian errors to take a 9-6 lead. Twice in the set Marshall froze the Mexican backline to get the ball back for Canada. Each time Canada was able to pull within one before a service error would give the ball back to its rivals. The early control built by Mexico led them to a 25-21 win


After matching each other point for point in the second set, neither team gained more than a two-point lead. Canada sat at set point three times before finally sealing the 28-26 win. After Samuel Cordova Arvizu attack tied the game at 26, Lucas Van Berkel of Edmonton (Trinity Western) and Chris Hoag of Sherbrooke (Calgary) blocked a Mexican attack from the middle to put the table for another set point. Setter Jay Blankenau of Calgary (Calgary) scored the set winner with a quick kill off a Mexican dig that had sailed over the net.


Canada opened the third set with momentum on its side but Mexico wasn’t giving up staying within no more than two points until tying the set at eight apiece. Canada scored the next two but Mexico notched the game once again. A pair of Van Berkel blocks and a Chris Hoag ace pulled the Canucks ahead by four and, from there, took over en route to the 25-22 win.


Despite allowing its opponents to take an 8-5 lead in the fourth frame, Canada quickly turned the tables with an 8-1 run to lead 13-9. Braden McLean of Birch Hills, Sask. (Saskatchewan) had two blocks up the middle during the sequence and Blankenau recorded an ace. Mexico couldn’t recover.


“We are usually a really smooth team offensively and a really good blocking team as well,” said Marshall of Canada’s strengths. “We need to keep building on what we are doing well and sharpen the things we are missing. If we keep doing that and keep growing together, we will be firing on all cylinders moving forward in the competition.”


Canada will play its third match in preliminary action Monday against Chile (0-1) at 3 p.m. local time (7 a.m. Eastern Time).


BOXSCORE: Canada vs Mexico