After two weekends where flaws were a constant, Team Canada showed some consistency yesterday in Tampere, Finland. It was the first day of the fourth and final World League stop for pool B. Facing world number-one Brazil, the Canadians were able to put up a fight and took the game to the fifth set losing 2-3 (25-22, 19-25, 14-25, 25-19, 9-15). This gave Canada one point in the standings, tied with Finland that lost to Poland in straight sets (25-16, 26-24, 25-19). Both Finns and Canucks have seven points. Brazilians and Poles are also tied, but with 23 points. This Saturday Canada plays Poland at 9:00 a.m. EST, and Brazil takes on Finland after. Check out some highlights from Canada vs. Brazil.
Canada had defeated Brazil on the first WL weekend by 3-2 in Toronto. Their next two meetings were losses, 1-3 in Katowice, Poland and 0-3 in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. “We were happy with the way we started the match” said team captain, Fred Winters. “We obviously later lost some confidence when Brazil came back with strength. In the back of our heads we were already thinking of Sunday and the last match against Finland for third place in the pool”. Finishing third would not only give Canada more points in the world ranking (Team Canada is number 17), but keep them in the tournament as the two worst fourth places will have to play a qualifier to try to grab a spot in the tournament in 2013. Playing in the World League (an annual tournament) is part of Volleyball Canada’s plan to build a more competitive team on the way to Rio Olympics in 2016.
Both opposites had a great match today with Canadian Gavin Schmitt being the top scorer with 27 points (25 kills, one block, one ace), followed by Brazil’s Wallace Souza with 24 (20 kills, two blocks, two aces). Setter Ciaran McGovern made his debut with the A team. Recruited from the B team that remained training in Gatineau, he was in line-up in Tampere and gave the squad a new rhythm. Team Canada lost two setters in the tournament because of injuries. On the second weekend, Dustin Schneider aggravated a knee injury during a training session in Poland. On the following weekend, in Brazil, Josh Howatson sprained his ankle playing against the home team. Olivier Faucher had joined the team in Brazil, but head coach Glenn Hoag made an option for McGovern, who travelled from Gatineau to Tampere earlier this week.
You can follow the WL matches on http://www.sportlemon.tv/.