Pan Am Cup: Brazil wins the gold, Canada takes bronze

June 18, 2011

Canada wins the bronze medal at Pan Am Cup volleyball tournament

GATINEAUCanada returned to the medal podium at the Pan Am Cup men’s volleyball tournament on Saturday with a decisive 25-14, 25-20, 25-21 victory over a young but very talented squad from Puerto Rico.

Brazil, buoyed by a group of loud supporters with with drums and horns, won the tournament for the first time with an exciting 25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 28-26 victory over the U.S., the three time defending champions. 

Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon led the Canadian attack with 14 points while team captain Fred Winters of Victoria added 12 and Gord Perrin of Creston, B.C., nine as more than 1,000 volleyball fans turned out at the sweltering Centre Robert-Guertin. 

The Canadians finished with a 4-1 record, with two of those wins against Puerto Rico. They went 2-0 in the round robin, defeated Mexico in the quarterfinal and lost to powerhouse Brazil in the semis on Friday night.

‘’We are happy with the win tonight but we still have a lot of things to work on,’’ said Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag. ‘’This tournament for us will be a good reference point on what we need to work on and it was also a great chance to evaluate the players.’’

Winters said the Canadian squad, fourth at last year’s Pan Am Cup, was hoping to get a better result at the week-long tournament.

‘’It’s nice to finish with a win, especially that we are now headed into two weeks of training,’’ he said. ‘’It was probably our best executed match of the tournament. But it’s early in the season and I done this enough times to know it’s a long process to get the chemistry back.

‘’We hadn’t played together for eight months before this tournament.’’

Schmitt won two tournament awards: he was the top scorer and the top spiker. Paulo Silva of Brazil was the tournament MVP.

The tournament was the first building block in a season that will include an Olympic qualifying event this winter. This week the Canadians were without some of their top international stars including Alexandre Gaumont-Casias of Marieville, Que., and Adam Simac of Ottawa who are recovering from injuries.

That gave an opportunity for players like Perrin, 21, and 23-year-old Justin Duff of Winnipeg an opportunity to impress the coaching staff this week.

Ulises Maldonado and Ezequiel Cruz were top pointsmen for the Puerto Rico with eight each. Some of the Puerto Rican players are heading to the junior Pan Am Cup which starts Tuesday in Panama

‘’We thought we had a pretty good shot of winning but they stepped it up a notch and beat us,’’ said Puerto Rico’s captain Edgardo Goas. ‘’It was still a successful tournament for us. We’ve only been together for two weeks so nobody expected us to battle for a medal.’’

The rest of the standings are Mexico fifth, Venezuela sixth, Argentina seventh, Dominican Republic eighth, Bahamas ninth and Panama 10th.

Canada was fourth last year, silver medallists in 2009 and 2008 and bronze medallists in the inaugural Pan Am Cup in 2006.

June 18, 2011

Brazil wins epic battle over the U.S. for gold

GATINEAU- Brazil overcame a serious injury to star player Raphael Oliveira in the third set to defeated the U.S., 25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 28-26 on Saturday to win the gold medal at the Pan Am Cup men’s volleyball tournament.

Oliveira, Brazil’s power server who had scored 12 points before the injury, tore his Achilles tendon and was rushed to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. Brazilian legend Anderson Rodrigues came in as a replacement and played a key role adding eight more points.

‘’I dedicate this victory to Raphael,’’ said Anderson, a member of the 2004 Olympic champion team. ‘’The U.S., was very hard to play against, they are very well organized. We followed our plan but when Raphael went down we played with a lot of heart as well’’

‘’This is a great beginning to our preparations for the World Military Games,’’ said Brazil’s head coach Flavio Marinho whose troops were encouraged by a dozen local Brazilians who kept a steady samba-beat drone from the first serve to the winning shot.

Paulo Silva was the top scorer for the winners with 23 points. Robert Tarr and William Price added 17 points each for disappointed American squad.

‘’I’m proud of the way our guys fought, it was a really tough match,’’ said Tarr. ‘’We had our opportunities to close it out in that fourth set and couldn’t do it.’’

June 18, 2011

Venezuela withdraws from fifth place match against Mexico

GATINEAU – The Venezuela-Mexico match was not played on Saturday at the Pan Am Cup men’s volleyball tournament after the Venezuelans withdrew due to a player shortage.

Five Venezuelan players returned home before the match and combined with injuries there weren’t enough athletes for Venezuela to field a team. The match goes in the books as a 25-0, 25-0, 25-0 victory for Mexico which finishes fifth. Venezuela takes sixth.

‘’We are disappointed we couldn’t play the match,’’ said Mexico’s head coach Jorge Azair. ‘’No one wants to win a match that way. We were happy with the team’s performance at this tournament. We are on the right track. Now for Mexico we begin focusing on being at our best for the Pan Am Games this fall in Gualdalajara.

June 18, 2011

Argentina finishes seventh at Pan Am Cup

GATINEAU – Ivan Castellani scored 17 points to lead Argentina to a 25-21, 25-21, 22-25, 25-15 victory over the Dominican Republic on Saturday to finish seventh at the Pan Am Cup men’s volleyball tournament.

Martin Ramos added 15 points for the victors who were fielding their national junior team that will compete at the world junior championships later this summer in Brazil. For the Argentineans it was a very valuable experience.

‘’It was very important in our preparation for the world juniors,’’ said Argentina’s head coach Juan Manuel Cichello. ‘’We know what the good and the bad is that we need to work on. We showed a lot of improvement on reception and serves in particular.’’

‘’Our goal here was to reach the semifinals,’’ added Argentina’s Damian Villalba. ‘’It’s not the result we wanted but we had some good moments. Now we hope we can improve even more.’’

Luis Pedro Garcia was the top scorer for the Dominican with 18 points while Eduardo Concepcion added 15. 

‘’We made too many mistakes in our transition game,’’ said Garcia. ‘’Argentina played well on the attack and were very hard to stop. We played pretty well considering this is a new but we hoped to be better than eighth.