Bad Start in The Second World League Weekend

Glenn Hoag trying to put the team back on track (Photo: FIVB)

Gavin Schmitt is becoming more and more a nightmare for the opponents' block and defense.  Despite this, things didn't work out for Team Canada in the first match of second World League stop in Katowice, Poland. The Canadians fought hard in the first set, but fell in three (28-26, 25-18, 25-20) to the Poles. Schmitt was the top scorer with 17 points (14 kills, one block and two aces) tied with Polish opposite Zbigniew Bartman.

The poor performance was criticized by Canada's head coach Glenn Hoag. “We started well in the first set, but then Poland took control. Our reception was really bad and there was no comparison between my team and team Poland. They played great in block”. However, Hoag emphasized he liked the way his opposite hitter played against the Poles. “I'm happy with my opposite, Gavin Schmitt. Not only with his spikes, but also with serves and most of all his leadership skills", added the coach.

Canada was behind 22-24 in first set. After scoring, Schmitt served twice leaving the Canucks ahead 25-24. Canada had a chance to close the set, but the team missed a counter-attack. Many times, during the match, Gavin Schmitt put Canada back in the game with his spikes and serves. If the Canadians put up a fight in the first set, too many passing mistakes made things easier for the Polish squad in the second and third sets. Tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. EST, Canada plays Brazil.

If not there yet, Brazil is close to their best. Later on Friday they smashed Finland in straight sets (25-13, 25-14, 25-14). The 2010 world championships MVP Murilo Endres (left side) who didn't travel to Toronto, returned to the Brazilian team. Also, veteran setter Ricardo Garcia, known for speeding up the game, showed some class in Katowice. Toronto saw his comeback to Brazil’s national team after five years but he didn't have a chance to set the pace in the first weekend. The multi-awarded Gilberto “Giba” Godoy (left side) and Leandro Vissotto (opposite) haven’t played in this WL, both stayed in Brazil recovering from injuries. Murilo Endres expect the team to play even better tomorrow against Canada. Two weeks ago Canada beat Brazil 3-2, the North-Americans first victory over Brazil since 1999.

These four teams play in pool B. The 2012 World League has 16 teams split in four pools. 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.