Bad Weekend

Dallas Soonias spikes past the Finnish block (Photo: Marcelo Rizzo)It was probably Team Canada’s worst match in the 2012 World League. The Canadians needed only two sets to stay ahead of the Finns in pool standings, but played badly, missed some really good chances and now leave Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil without winning a set. In one hour and forty minutes Finland won (25-19, 25-22, 26-24). Earlier Brazil edged a four-set win over Poland (26-24, 25-17, 23-25, 25-23).

After three stops, Brazil leads pool B with 21 points, followed by Poland with 20. Team Canada remains with six points, surpassed by the Finns that added three and now have seven points. The 2012 World League has 16 teams split in four pools. The two worst fourth places will have to go to a qualifier to try to keep playing the tournament in 2013. The other groups are still going to their second weekend, once many teams had to play at the Olympic trials. Pool B will be wrapped up this coming weekend in Tempere, Finland. Team Canada plays Brazil on Friday, Poland on Saturday and has a decisive match against the Finns on Sunday.

Today, in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Finland started taking control in the first set, without much resistance from the Canadian side. In the second set, the Finns kept pace and Canada was struggling. The opponents had opened up an advantage of seven points (10-3), when Canada’s head coach, Glenn Hoag, made four substitutions, having some effect, as in the second half of the set the Canucks were only one point behind. However, Team Canada made some mistakes in crucial moments and saw the Finns take the set. The final set was the most balanced, Hoag kept the changes he had made and Canada was leading the score by the two technical timeouts. Once again some flaws in attack put Finland back in the game. The Canadians were ahead 24-23 and had the chance to close the set, once libero Dan Lewis dug up a Finnish hit, but the team let the ball drop in the middle of the court. After that, only Finland scored.

“The execution errors are killing us, we’re sick of losing. We need to analyze our mistakes and improve to do better in Finland”, said middle blocker Adam Simac, one of the players subbed out by Hoag in the second set. The Canadian coach was upset with his team performance in Brazil. “It seems we’ll have to go back to square one and start the whole thing again. Our players are lacking confidence, we have no flow in offense. We gotta find a way to be more effective on the last weekend”, Glenn Hoag observed.

Playing in the World League (an annual tournament) is part of the plan of Volleyball Canada to build a more competitive team on the way to Rio Olympics in 2016.

The 2012 WL finals will be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 4-8 with six teams: The host, the four pool winners and the best second place.

You can follow the WL matches on http://www.sportlemon.tv/.