Canada drops Pan American Cup opener

TIJUANA, Mexico – Venezuela defeated Canada 3-1 (25-20, 25-17,21-25, 30-28) in the opening match of the IX Men’s Pan American Cup volleyball tournament at the Baja California High Performance Center.

Venezuela surprised the Canadians with a good defensive blocking strategy that allowed them to dominate the opening two sets. Kervin Pinerua scored 28 points for Venezuela, followed by Freddy Cedeno with 15, while Jesus Chourio finished with 12. On the Canadian side, Jason De Rocco of Winnipeg and Dallas Soonias of Red Deeer, Alta., scored 17 apiece.

Canada’s head coach, Georges Laplante said there were some indiscipline mistakes by his players.

“We had lack of communication but we expect to improve things in our next match,’’ Laplante said.  ‘’We have two groups one in Argentina and the other one here, as we prepare to get the team ready for World Championships.’’

Canada squandered three set points in the fourth. “We tried to do our best after third set, but due to indiscipline and mistakes we couldn’t make it,’’ said Toon Van Lankvelt of River, Man. ‘’We expect to improve for second match.”

The Canadians are in Group C with Venezuela and Argentina.  Canada faces Argentina on Wednesday.  The top-two in each of the three pools advance to the playoff round.  The quarterfinals are on Thursday, semis on Friday and the medal matches on Saturday.

Canada did not compete at the Pan Am Cup in 2013 and was sixth in 2012.

Canadian roster for the Pan Am Cup August 11-16 in Tijuana, Mexico.

Jay Blankenau, Calgary


Josh Howatson, Victoria


Graham Vigrass, Calgary


Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary


Max Burt, Gander, N.L.


Steve Marshall, Abbotsford, B.C.


Jason Derocco, Winnipeg


Toon Van Lankvelt, River, Man.


Nick Del Bianco, Surrey, B.C.


Blair Bann, Edmonton


Dallas Soonias, Red Deer, Alta.


Brad Gunter, Courtenay, B.C.



Team Staff travelling will be 


Georges Laplante – Head Coach 

Nathan Groenveld – Asst Coach 

Ryan Ratushniak – Asst Coach

Joanie Beauregard-Veillette – Team Manager

Luc Campbell –  Therapist 

Mélanie Desrochers - Statistician 


Matches are webcast at: