World League: Canada’s Focused Effort Leads to 3-0 Win

Tampere, Finland, June 28, 2014: Less than 24 hours made a world of difference for Canada’s men’s volleyball team as World League pool play continued today in Tampere, Finland.

Canada won easily 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-17) this afternoon, after a disappointing loss on Friday with a sharper looking Finnish team.

Both teams started strong today, but Canada quickly took control of the match. Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon, SK, came out fighting with six points in the first set.

"We came in a lot more focused and executed a game plan a lot better – we were more mentally here today,” said Schmitt, who contributed 15 points to Canada’s overall effort. “We had some guys step up. We are plagued with injuries, so the young guys did well – TJ (Sanders) had a really good game today. I was really happy with the collective team effort.”

The second set started with some back and forth, and then tied at 13-13, with Canada eventually getting the best of its opponents to win the close contest.  Finland couldn’t get its game together and let Canada dominate the third.

Toontje Van Lankvelt of Rivers, MB, also made a big impact for Canada with 13 points.

“I don’t think after yesterday that anyone on our team was satisfied with our performance,” said Canada’s captain Fred Winters of Victoria, BC, who had 10 points today. “We should be kicking ourselves that we didn’t play a lot better on Friday because we had a chance to earn some (World League) points.”

Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag was much happier with today’s effort, but concerned over the toll that the tournament’s travel schedule is taking on his team.

“I’m very proud of the guys – right now our team is really, really, tired and we are losing players to injury. The travel and the jet-lag is starting to cost us,” said Hoag. “The whole team played in the moment today, and stayed focused the whole time. It’s been a long World League for everybody, and maybe that explains why the teams have been so irregular.”

Canada is without setter Dustin Schneider, left side Gord Perrin, and middle Rudy Verhoeff, who are all back in Canada recovering.

Belgium seems to be the most steady team in Pool C, winning again over Australia in Adelaide today. The Belgians now have 23 points, Canada has 17, the Finns have 12 and Australia, 8. The top team advances to the next round, with Australia getting a spot as the host country.

The Canadians head to Sydney now to take on the “Volleyroos” – a team they faced in Edmonton last weekend (losing one and winning another).

“We need to go and play the best volleyball we can against Australia.  A good objective for this coming weekend is to win two consistent games,” said Hoag.

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Media contact:

Jackie Skender

Mobile: 613.794.7676