Head coach Glenn Hoag’s main goal for this final leg of 2012 World League was achieved. Team Canada played some solid volleyball in Tampere, Finland and after a bad start in first set against the home team today, the Canadians made a comeback to win 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-20). Canada finished third in pool B and is confirmed for the 2013 edition of World League. Playing in the World League is essential to raise Canada’s game level on the way to the Rio Olympics in 2016. Earlier today Poland beat Brazil 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 25-22) finishing first, securing a spot in the finals, to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria in July 4-8. Brazil may qualify as the second best place among the four pools.
Opposite Gavin Schmitt was Canada’s top scorer once again with 24 points (20 kills and four aces). After losing the first set, Glenn Hoag made a substitution. He replaced left side Fred Winters for Toon van Lankvelt, trying to give the team more stability. It worked. Team Canada also served better, making things harder for the Finns. Before this match, Canada had beaten Finland 3-0 in Toronto, but had lost 2-3 in Katowice, Poland, and 0-3 in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. Both teams had seven points. After this 3-1 victory Canada reached 10 points.
The Canadians had good results in all three matches in Tampere, after two weekends full of mistakes. This time two balanced matches against powerhouses Brazil and Poland. On Friday, the Canucks gave the Brazilian team a run for their money losing only in the fifth set. Yesterday, a loss in straight sets to Poland, but with a very tight score. “We are very happy for this result against Finland. This tournament was difficult for us, but now we secured a place in the World League also for the next year”, remarked Glenn Hoag.
Canada’s captain, left side Fred Winters admitted things didn’t go the way the team expected, but the final result was positive. “We didn't win as many matches in this year's World League as we had waited, but however we ended in the third place which is what we wanted”. The Canadians will return to the training centre in Gatineau, Quebec. Later in September those who play abroad will join their clubs, mainly in Europe. The others will stay in Gatineau.
Check out Team Canada roster at the 2012 WL: