Tough start to Champions League playoff for Canadian-flavoured Turkish squad

 IZMIR, Turkey (January 15, 2013) – Izmir Arkas, which includes four Canadian national team members, lost its opening playoff match on Tuesday in the men’s volleyball Champions League volleyball tournament.  Arkas fell to undefeated Belchatow, Poland in four set 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 25-13 in the first of a two match series.

The tournament determines the top professional club in men’s volleyball.

“They served really well tonight,” said Glenn Hoag of Gatineau, Que., the mentor of Arkas IZMIR and also head coach of Canada’s men’s national team. “We had to play high balls but their block-defense system worked really well too. So we could not score as we had wished. Next week we have to play much better if we want to stand a chance in the return game”. 

Izmir, which also includes Canadian national team players Justin Duff of Winnipeg, Adam Simac of Ottawa and Gord Perrin of Creston, B.C., posted a record of four wins and two losses in preliminary round play for second position in its group behind Maaseik, Belgium which went undefeated with a 6-0 mark in the first phase.

Duff had a strong match with 10 of 12 points on spikes while Perrin ranked third in receiving at 57 percent and added three points and Simac earned two of his five points off the block.

 “We feel ready for the second half of our European campaign,’’ said Hoag.  ‘’As the season got started we had to cope with a few injuries, but our players are coming back by the time it really counts the most”.

The news wasn’t better for Canadian national team veteran Dan Lewis of Oakville, Ont.  His ACH Volley squad from Ljublana, Slovenia lost in straight sets to Cuneo, Italy 25-23, 25-17, 25-23.   ACH Volley opened the season with two losses but rebounded with four straight wins to close the preliminary round.

Two other series also got underway Tuesday and two more start Wednesday.  There are no other Canadians in the Champions League playoff.

The same teams meet each other again a week later and the total from the two matches determines the winner.

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