The Canadian National 'B' Team is off the the semi-finals at the Pan Am Cup in Mexico after a 3-1 (26-24, 26-28, 25-19, 31-29) win over the United States. They will face Argentina tonight at 7 p.m. EST for a spot in the Gold medal game.
Stephen Maar led all scorers with 29 points (25 K, 3 B, 1 A) a hit a .592 while Jason DeRocco added another 14 (10 K, 2 B, 2 A). T.J. DeFalco led all American scorers with 20 kills and three blocks.
They narrowly missed out on taking the top spot in their pool - handling Costa Rica with ease but finishing 1-1 only after a tight five-setter with Cuba. Bouncing back from a loss like shows some good signs from a group that could take the reigns of Canadian volleyball pretty soon.
The B team is a mix of young players coming from the CIS and the FTC joined by older players like Jason DeRocco and Max Burt who have spent time with the 'A' team, who are providing some mentorship. Most notably, the Canadian National team will be looking at couple standouts from this year's CIS Championships to see how they handle the International pressure - and both Maar and Alberta setter Brett Walsh have performed well.
Maar continues to to be an imposing power on the outside, and at 6'8", provides size that Canada could definitely use. He's getting the chance to do something not many young Canadians have done - to play in the Italien Serie A1 right out of the CIS. He signed with Pallavolo Padova and will be playing in arguably the top league in the world in the fall.
While Walsh will be going to be the University of Alberta to try and lead the Golden Bears to their fourth CIS medal in as many years - his career with the National team could be a long one. With Canada Games and CIS Championships under his belt, he's a natural-leader who knows how to win. With this win over the States, he's proven he can lead a team that has been together for only a couple of weeks and still manage to win.
Canada will take on Argentina in the semis at 7 p.m. EST tonight. While the Argentinians are 3-0 - their opponents, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico don't bring the same skill or firepower to the table Canada does. Volleyball Source will have live streams available come game time!