Great Start

Gavin Schmitt spikes past the Finnish block (Photo: FIVB)

Canada started well at the 2012 World League in front of their home crowd beating Finland 3-0 (33-31, 26-24, 25-23) at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto this Friday. Team Canada made comebacks in the first two sets, in a match where Gavin Schmitt (opposite), Fred Winters (left side) and Gord Perrin (left side) showed a solid volleyball. Schmitt was the top scorer with 19 points (14 kills, four blocks and one ace). Winters added 16 points and Perrin contributed with 14. Almost 3,000 people watched Canada defeats the Finns. It was the opening day of the WL, a competition with 16 teams split in four pools. “We are really happy with the win”, said Canada’s head coach Glenn Hoag. “The Finns fought hard and put us in trouble. We struggled with our small game and it nearly cost us. We have a lot of young guys and they need to play at this level.”

This Saturday, Canada plays number-one ranked Brazil who lost 2-3 to Poland last night in an intense two and a half hours match before 7,500 spectators. Most of them from the Polish Toronto community although there was a decent-size Brazilian contingent as well. The match will be broadcast live on CBC at 4:00 p.m. EST. The Brazilian team travelled to Canada without three important players, Gilberto “Giba” Godoy Filho (left side), Murilo Endres (left side), and Leandro Vissotto (opposite). The Poles, number four on FIVB rank, played with their full squad, opened 2-0 but saw Brazil rally back to tie, saving three match points in the third set and leading the fourth. In tie breaking fifth set, the Poles finally reached a victory over Brazil after ten years. Later this Saturday at 8:00 p.m. EST, Poland takes on Finland.

After Toronto, in the upcoming weekends, these four teams will play in this round-robin format in Katowice (Poland), Sao Bernardo do Campo (Brazil), and Tampere (Finland). The finals will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 4-8 with six teams: The host, the four pool winners and the best second place.