Olympic dream ends in heartbreak for Canadian men’s volleyball teamLONG BEACH, California (May 12, 2012) – Canada’s men’s volleyball team lost the gold medal match at the NORCECA Olympic qualifier to the U.S., 28-26, 25-18 , 25-20 on Saturday night. Only the tournament winner could land a berth for the 2012 London Games.
‘’We didn’t play very well,’’ said Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag of Gatineau, Que. ‘’We made too many errors and the Americans really put the pressure on us with their service and their blocking game.’’
Up to that point it had been a remarkable tournament for the Canadians ranked 18th in the world. They went 3-0 in the round robin, not even losing a set, which included wins over world number-17 Puerto Rico and world number-five Cuba. In the semifinal Friday, they beat the Puerto Ricans again in a five-set thriller.
But against one of the sport’s true superpowers the Canadians met their match. The Americans, who only lost one set all week, will now have an opportunity to defend their Olympic title.
‘’We showed a lot of great things over this week,’’ said Hoag. ‘’But we’re still a team that sometimes lacks finish and some confidence and that can’t happen when you play a team like the U.S.’’
Dallas Soonias was the top Canadian scorer Saturday with 19 points while Fred Winters of Victoria added 12.
Canada’s season is far from over though. They open the World League tournament this weekend in Toronto at the Ricoh Coliseum with matches against Finland on Friday at 4 p.m., world number-one Brazil on Saturday at 4 p.m. and world number-four Poland on Sunday at 8 p.m.
The World League is a 16 –country tournament that runs until July 8 and offers the biggest cash prizes in the sport.
TEAM CANADA ROSTER
Left Sides: Nicholas Cundy, Edmonton; Toontje Van Lankvelt, Rivers, Man.; Fred Winters, Victoria; Gord Perrin, Creston, B.C.
Middle Blockers: Justin Duff, Winnipeg; Steve Brinkman, Bowmanville, Ont.; Adam Kaminski, Chatham, Ont.
Right Sides: Dallas Soonias, Red Deer, Alta.; Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon.
Setters: Josh Howatson, Victoria; Dustin Schneider, Brandon, Man;
Liberos: Dan Lewis, Oakville, Ont.
Head Coach: Glenn Hoag
Asst Coach: Vincent Pichette
Team Manager: Julien Boucher
Statistician: Christopher Galbraith
Physiotherapist: Mathieu Seguin