Do you know how it feels when your team beat the number one in the world? Canada men’s volleyball team does. This Saturday afternoon, playing before 8,100 people in the packed Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, they beat Brazil 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 25-20, 24-26, 15-10) in the second day of 2012 World League. “In my nine years with the national team I had never beaten Brazil before. It was a great treat for the fans and TV audience and I’m glad they got to see the hard work the players and staff put into this”, celebrated left side Fred Winters, Team Canada’s captain. Opposite hitter Gavin Schmitt had a brilliant performance scoring the high mark of 33 points (29 kills and four blocks). Left side Gord Perrin, who joined the adult national team only two years ago, helped with 21 points (15 kills and impressive six blocks).
It was a historical day for Canadian volleyball. “I’m happy with the win, even more with the way the guys played. Brazil is a team that I study all the time and to beat them is really an honour. The World League is a big opportunity for us to play big matches and this experience will pay off”, said Canada’s head coach, Glenn Hoag. Ten days ago at the Norceca Olympic qualifier, Canada was responsible for the tournament’s major upset defeating Cuba (world number-four) in straight sets. Now, they beat Brazil in a five-setter that lasted two and a half hours, showing mental strength at crucial moments.
The Brazilian team travelled to Canada without three important players, Gilberto “Giba” Godoy Filho (left side), Murilo Endres (left side), and Leandro Vissotto (opposite). They are recovering from injuries and should join Team Brazil next week. The Brazilians lost 2-3 to Poland on Friday while Canada beat Finland 3-0. Later on Saturday the Finns beat Poland 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 15-9). This round-robin weekend will be wrapped up on Sunday as Brazil takes on Finland at 4:00 p.m. EST and Canada plays Poland at 8:00 p.m. EST. The Canadian match will be broadcast live on TV on Rogers Sportsnet One. Poland is ranked fourth in the world. Team Canada is currently number 18 on FIVB rank, while the Finns are currently 27th.
These four teams will meet again in two weeks in Katowice, Poland. The 2012 World League has 16 teams split in four pools.