The Junior National team is competing at the NORCECA U21 Continental Championships in Havana, Cuba for a spot in next year's U21 FIVB World Championships. The First Place team from this event will qualify for the World Championships.
There's no doubt this team is young - only two players on the roster (Fynn McCarthy & Alex Nsakanda) having previous post-secondary experience. However, that does not mean this team is going to Havana untested - as the majority of the athletes have trained with the Youth National Team in past seasons and have competed at events like the U.S. High Performance Championships - while bringing down the Canada Games age to 18U last season provided meaningful competition to those who will be wearing the Maple Leaf for the first time.
While McCarthy will bring experience in the middle - there's a few more standouts to look out for. The outside positions will most likely be filled by a pair of physical BC boys - both Michael Dowhaniuk (UBC) and Brodie Hofer (TWU) bring a physical presence and solid ball control while 18U Nationals MVP Xander Ketrzynski (Ryerson) will be handful for any team in the opposite position. Holding down the libero position is one of the most promising standouts we've seen in years: Justin Lui (Stanford).
The big question for this team will be the setting positions as the team opted to go with the younger pair of Mathias Elser (NEP) and Maximine St-Denis (CÉGEP de l'Outaouais) to run the offence - leaving Calgary Dino Thomas Sora off the list - the only setter on the roster with uSports experience. For Elser, who still has another year of 18U left, this will be his second international event of the summer as he competed with the Youth National Team at the U.S. High Performance Championships earlier this summer.
🇨🇦Canada def. 🇭🇹Haïti | 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-18)
🇨🇦Canada def. 🇳🇮Nicaragua | 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-15)
🇺🇸United States def. 🇨🇦Canada | 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 25-23, 26-24)
August 30th - Quarterfinals
🇨🇦Canada vs. 🇧🇧Barbados | 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-20)
August 31st - Semi-Finals
🇨🇦Canada vs. 🇨🇺Cuba - 6:00 p.m. ET / 3:00 p.m. PT
Unfortunately - there's no live stream for this event as Cuba lacks internet.
- #2 Matthew Neaves (MB) - Calgary, AB | UBC Thunderbords
- #3 Michael Dowhaniuk (OH) - Surrey, BC | UBC Thunderbirds
- #5 Luis Lange (MB) - Calgary, AB | MRU Cougars
- #6 Mathias Elser (S) - Calgary, AB | Team Canada NEP
- #8 Justin Lui (L) - Durham, ON | Stanford Cardinal
- #10 Brodie Hofer (OH) - Langley, BC | TWU Spartans
- #11 Fynn McCarthy (MB) -
- #12 Alexandre Nsakanda (OP) - Ottawa, ON | UC Irvine Anteaters
- #13 Braedon Friesen (OH) - Swift Current, SK | Alberta Golden Bears
- #14 Xander Ketrzynski (OP) - Toronto, ON | Ryerson Rams
- #15 Coltyn Liu (OH) - Vancouver, BC | UBC Thunderbirds
- #20 Maxime St-Denis (S) - Ottawa, ON | CEGEP de l'Outaouais Griffons
- Head Coach: Joao Paulo Bravo
- Assistant Coach: Adam Simac
- Assistant Coach: Shayne White
- Team Manager: Mélanie Desrochers
- Team Statistician: Daniel Cuzmar-Grimalt
- Athletic Therapist: Seadon Pereira