Canada opens Argentina tour with victory

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina (August 5, 2014)  – Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon earned 26 points, including four aces, as Canada’s national men’s volleyball team defeated Argentina 25-18, 25-21, 23-25, 21-25, 15-11 on Monday night in Argentina’s second largest city.

The Canadians launched a week long series of matches against their South American rivals in preparation for the FIVB World Championships set for August 30 to September 21 in Poland.

“This was our first match after a three week break,’’ said Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag. ‘’ We played fairly well considering we are in a heavy training phase.’’

The Canadians came out firing on all cylinders.

‘’In the two first sets we played with a lot of energy and our serve-block-defence was good,’’ said Hoag.  ‘’We defended well but we  still struggled with our transition attack.  After two sets our energy level was down and we struggled with our focus, we had to fight hard to stay with Argentina but we were able to make a couple tactical adjustments to help us win the fifth set.”

Nicholas Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que., added 17 points and Justin Duff of Winnipeg scored 15 including three blocks.

“We still have a lot of work to do and things to polish, but that’s why we are here,’’ said Hoag.  ‘’These test matches will give us a great opportunity to gauge our level at this point.’’

The two countries meet again Tuesday.