Young Canadian men’s volleyball team hardened for battle at Pan Am Games

COLIMA, Mexico- Canada lost to Mexico Friday night in its final tune-up match for the men’s volleyball tournament at the Pan American Games 25-21, 26-24, 25-23 but head coach Vincent Pichette is pleased with the progress of his troops after a strong week of training and matches.

‘’We reduced our number of direct errors and established a more efficient offensive game,’’ said Pichette about the match against Mexico. ‘’We lacked execution on defence and in our transition game and that was the difference in the second and third sets.’’

Spencer Leiske of Lacombe, Alta., led the Canadians with 15 kills and two blocks, Kevin Miller of Brandon, Man., added six kills and an ace and Jacob Kilpatrick of St. John, N.B., had three kills and three blocks.

Canada opens round robin play at the Pan Ams on Monday against Brazil, then faces the U.S., Tuesday and Puerto Rico Wednesday. The top team in each group gets a bye to the semifinals on Friday while the second and third place countries cross over for the quarterfinals on Thursday. The medal matches are next Saturday.

The Canadian team was in Saquarema, Brazil all last week where it played three tune-up matches losing to Argentina and twice to Brazil.

‘’Playing against some of the best players in the world was a very valuable experience,’’ said Pichette. ‘’Our players are competing at their first big international event. They are learning its challenges and the discipline that is required to compete at that level.’’

The Canadian team left for Guadalajara today.

Canadian men’s volleyball team roster for the Pan American Games October 15-29 in Guadalajara, Mexico:

Players: Ciaran McGovern, Grande Prairie, Alta.; Spencer Leiske, Lacombe, Alta.; Tyler Santoni, Kingston, Ont.; Sander Ratsep, London, Ont.; Jacob Kilpatrick, St. John, N.B.; Blair Bann, Edmonton, Alta; Max Burt, Gander, N.L.; Devon Parkinson, Victoria, BC; Reid Halpenny, Grand Bend, Ont.; Tanner Nault, Sherwood Park, Alta.; Louis-Pierre Mainville, Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot, Que; Kevin Miller, Brandon, Man.


Head coach: Vincent Pichette

Team Manager: Julien Boucher

Assistant Coach: Denis Gaboury

Statistician: Christopher Galbraith

Therapist: Mathieu Séguin