World Champs: Canada Dominates Dutch in Opener

World Champs: Canada Dominates Dutch in Opener
 Match Statistics by Team

Match Statistics by Team


The Maple Volleys have opened the 2018 FIVB World Championships in dominating fashion with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-18) win of the Netherlands today in Bulgaria. They pick up a big three points to start Round 1.

 Team Canada Stats

Team Canada Stats

Jay Blankenau got the start and kicked things off by teeing one up for Dan JVD and was immediately followed by Nick Hoag ripping an ace to give Canada the early 2-0 lead - and never looked back. The Maple Volleys are at their best when they dominate the serve and block game - and that鈥檚 exactly what happened tonight.

It was clear the Maple Volleys were just too much to handle for the Dutch, who are playing in their first World Championships since 1994. They were in control from the very first point, and other than a slight lapse mid-way through the second set, dictated the pace of play and dominated with their size and skill.聽

Nick Hoag was on another level and looked better than ever. With 7 kills on 12 attempts, he was deadly efficient and was a menace from the baseline - scoring 4 aces and teed one up for Stephen Maar for the overkill at a crucial point in the 2nd. He鈥檚 always had a high-level of skill - but it was almost like he wanted to challenge Nimir Abdel-Aziz to see who could hit harder, because he was absolutely hammering it today.聽

Both Gord Perrin and Sharone Vernon-Evans looked good in their official return to the roster. While Vernon-Evans started all three sets and played the majority of the match - Perrin was subbed off mid-way through the second in favour of Stephen Maar, a move we鈥檙e probably going to see more than once during the opening round in order to keep everyone as healthy as possible.聽

It鈥檚 not often you see a winning team鈥檚 top scorer make only 7 kills - but with an offence spread as evenly as this, it鈥檚 no surprise. Three players (Hoag, Vernon-Evans, Jansen van Doorn) scored 7 kills while another trio (Perrin, Vigrass, Maar) scored six.聽

You gotta give credit where credits due - and might as well give your VISA to Jay Blankenau because he was money. Perrin and Vernon-Evans received the most sets - and that was only 15. He forced the middle early as Dan JVD led the scoring in the first-set.聽Finally - Steven Marshall got the start as libero - and if this continues we鈥檙e going to have to call him the 鈥淚ce Cream Man鈥 because he was scooping all day.

Despite the Dutch ranking of No. 25 in the World and making their first appearance at the World Championships - this was a must win game for Canada. A loss to the Dutch with games remaining against Brazil and France isn鈥檛 a way to start the tournament - and when you have Nimir Abdel-Aziz on your roster, anything is possible. He scored 13 times on 29 attempts today - so they did a pretty good job shutting down a guy who could be one of the world鈥檚 best hitters.

Next up they take on Egypt on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. ET / 7:00 a.m. PT. On paper - it鈥檚 a match they should win having never lost to the top-African nation. However - this doesn鈥檛 mean it will be easy as Egypt is a veteran team with a number of options offensively. Canada will be to be as good as they were against the Netherlands in order to ensure a full three points - since points from Round 1 are carried onto Round 2 - every point matters.

Post Game Quotes

Nicholas Hoag, player of Canada:聽"I think the big difference in the match was serve and receive. We served really well without any mistakes, put them in trouble and add a hard time running their offense. We also received really well, so starting like this is really important for us. I think winning the second set was the key moment for our victory. Even though we had some difficulties and they were playing better, coming back from a few points behind and winning that set made us a little bit relieved. We are going to have a big preparation for the match tomorrow and of course we hope for another 3-0 win."

Stephane Antiga, coach of Canada:聽I鈥檓 so satisfied with this opening victory against the Netherlands. It is really important win and the perfect start of the completion for us. The level of the teams here in Ruse is really high and in every single match you must play as good as possible in order to win. We went with great motivation, managed to be focused, and the most important thing is the result in the end 鈥 3-0. Now we are looking forward to our next match against Egypt.

锘縂ido Vermeulen, coach the Netherlands:聽"I think the team of Canada were stronger at the firs and the third set but the second set we played a good game. However, at the end of the day they were the better team today. In the end of the second set we played really well in defense and our substitutes did a really good job to keep us in the game. But then, it is only one ball so you never know. I think we played a decent game. Tomorrow is a rest day for us, so we will prepare for the match against China on Friday."聽

Abdel-Aziz Nimir, captain of the Netherlands:聽"Of course we knew that it is going to be a difficult match because Canada is ranked sixth in the FIVB rankings and we are twenty fifth. We hoped to play a little bit better. They gave us a lot of pressure from the very first point in the opening set, and that was the key in this game. We just could not handle it."

World Champs: Canada Announces Roster

World Champs: Canada Announces Roster

Team Canada has announced their roster for the 2018 World Championships in Italy & Bulgaria starting on September 12th.

Returns from Injury: Gord Perrin (Outside), Sharone Vernon-Evans (Opposite)

Injured: Ryley Barnes (Outside)

Outsides

Headlining the roster is the return of Gord Perrin (Creston, BC) for the first time in 2018. Perrin鈥檚 been a cornerstone of the roster for a numbers of years and helped the Maple Volleys to a best-ever 7th placed finish in 2014 and Captained the team to their best-ever finish in the World League with a Bronze medal in 2017. Dominant in system, crafty in transition and solid in serve receive, at his best, he鈥檚 one of the best in the world.

Stephen Maar (Aurora, ON) is gearing up for his first World Championships. The powerful McMaster Marauder opened eyes in Italy and last year in the World League is gaining a name for hammering balls through the block. The 12th best scorer in this summer鈥檚 Nation League, Maar will carry a bulk of the load.

Nicholas Hoag (Sherbrooke, QC), one of the slickest players in the world is no stranger to the big stage. Starting at just 21-years old, he鈥檚 grown into one of the cornerstones of the roster. Time and time again he鈥檚 come through with big plays, and there鈥檚 little down

Jason DeRocco (Wiinnipeg, MB) is the glue that keeps it all together. The Manitoba native has had a few great seasons in the Polish Liga and has been a consistent contributor in the 2017 World League and 2018 Nations League. A canon arm makes him deadly from the baseline and even more lethal from the back row.

The reality is that any four of these guys could step up and carry the team at any point. With the gruelling schedule, the full rotation will be in use, and it鈥檚 likely we鈥檒l see all four step up at some point or another.

Opposites

The other notable return is 19-year old Sharone Vernon-Evans (Scarborough, ON). One of the big stories at the 2018 World League, he suffered in injury playing for Warsaw last season. Undergoing surgery in March - he got some solid reps throughout the two tune-up tournaments the team played in Poland and Slovenia, but the jury鈥檚 still out if he鈥檚 100% healthy.

We鈥檝e only seen the tip of the iceberg with Vernon-Evans, but if his 12鈥6.6鈥 touch is any indication - we could be in for some of the same fireworks we saw in last year鈥檚 World League Final. With length that can only be compared to Kevin Durant, he鈥檚 a shut-down blocker who can cause nightmares for even the worlds elite. While his length in one thing - his natural volleyball IQ is surprising for someone his age. H

Paired up with Ryan Sclater - (Port Coquitlam, BC), the Maple Volleys have the ability to run two different looks depending who鈥檚 sitting on the right. The former Trinity Western Spartan showed his chops this summer during the Nations League - including a breakout weekend in Argentina that included a win over Italy. At 6鈥6 - Sclater is smaller on the right but runs it fast and has a lightning fast arm-swing. His speed will open up holes Sharone won鈥檛 have - forcing teams to change their game plans on the fly.

Liberos

Blair Bann (Edmonton, AB) is one of the most fun players to watch in volleyball. With an infectious attitude, Bann is the energizer bunny that won鈥檛 stop and can be seen keeping plays alive game in and game out. The Best Libero of the 2017 World League - Bann has the respect of servers and attackers everywhere.

From the left to the right, now on to libero, Steven Marshall (Abbotsford, BC) can do it all. A natural athlete who鈥檚 known for his exceptional ball control - this former Spartan will be sure to frustrate a hitter or two in Bulgaria.

Roster

#1 TJ Sanders |聽Setter - London, ON

#2 Gord Perrin | Outside - Creston, BC

#3 Steven Marshall | Libero - Abbotsford, BC

#4 Nicholas Hoag | Outside - Sherbrooke, QC

#5 Lucas Van Berkel | Middle - Edmonton, AB

#7 Stephen Maar | Outside - Aurora, ON

#8 Jay Blankenau | Setter - Sherwood Park, AB

#9 Jason Derocco | Outside - Winnipeg, MB

#10 Sharone Vernon-Evans | Opposite - Scarborough, ON

#11 Dan Jansen van Doorn | Middle - Langley, BC

#16 Ryan Sclater | Oppodsite - Port Coquitlam, BC

#17 Graham Vigrass | Middle - Calgary, AB

#19 Blair Bann | Libero - Edmonton, AB

#20 Arthur Szwarc | Middle - Toronto, ON


Middles

The middle of the court will be patrolled by the same group that held down the fort during the Nations League. Graham Vigrass (Calgary, AB) will be the guy that controls is all. One of the best in business - Vigrass has too many tools to count. He reads setter like kids books and closes blocks like a glass door. His 13th-best 22 blocks in the Nations League is expected - while his 5th best 15 aces is the cherry on top. It鈥檚 not many middles that can lead a team in scoring - but that seems to be a regular occurence for Vigrass.

A pair of University teammates are sure to make an impact in their first World Championships. Dan Jansen van Doorn (Langley, BC) & Lucas van Berkel (Edmonton, AB) will go toe-to-toe with anyone. Dan JVD had a breakout Olympics and makes timely plays, and Lucas seems to show up just when you need him. Both will be seeing significant time and will need to come up big.

Arthur Szwarc (Toronto, ON) is a high-flier with the physicality to play with the best in the world. He鈥檚 still a little green - but watch out for bombs when he does come in.

Setters

Four years ago in Poland, TJ Sanders (London, ON) solidified himself as one of the up and coming setters to watch. Going into Bulgaria, there鈥檚 no doubt he鈥檚 reached that point. Not known for his flash, Sanders is known to be a magician at spreading the offence like butter on toast. His vision is among the elite, and the rhythm at which he runs the offence opens holes in even the best defence. On top of that, his leadership might be one of of biggest assets. Calm and analytical, his demeanour has pulled this team through more than a couple long matches.

If Jay Blankenau (Sherwood Park, AB) is on the court, make sure you鈥檝e got your phone ready because you鈥檙e sure to see something you鈥檒l like. From one-handed sets to his ability to go on-two, the Calgary Dino makes any hitter dangerous.

FIVB: U21 Beach World Championships

FIVB: U21 Beach World Championships

Action is underway in Lucerne,  Switzerland at the FIVB U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships.  49 teams for the girls and 47 teams for the boys have descended on the home of the FIVB headquarters for this dual gender tournament. As always, we've got the teams list, matches, scores right here. 

Cover Photo: FIVB

Canadian Boys in Switzlerland

CanadaTowe-MacNeil
CanadaAbrams-Saldana

Canadian Girls in Switzerland

CanadaM. McNamara-N. McNamara
CanadaHarnett-Veltman

USA Boys in Switzerland

USARodrigues-Skinner
USAVander Meer-Vaught

USA Girls in Switzerland

USABustamante-Muno
USASponcil-Van Winden

Live Stream

Girls Main Draw Results

Match # Phase Date Time Court # Team A Team B Result Duration

Boys Main Draw Results

Match # Phase Date Time Court # Team A Team B Result Duration

Girls Qualification Results

Match # Phase Date Time Court # Team A Team B Result Duration

Boys Qualification Results

Match # Phase Date Time Court # Team A Team B Result Duration

Beach: 2016 Fuzhou Open

Beach: 2016 Fuzhou Open

We're still in China for another Open on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.  This week we return to Fuzhou for another dual gender open event before crossing another ocean.  We've got a bunch of Canadian and American teams overseas looking to improve on their Olympic rankings.

As always, we've got the teams list, matches, scores and live streams right here.

Canadian Men in Fuzhou

CanadaBinstock-Schachter
CanadaSchalk-Saxton

Canadian Women in Fuzhou

CanadaBroder-Valjas
CanadaHumana-Paredes-Pischke

USA Men in Fuzhou

USALucena-Dalhausser
USAHyden-Bourne
USABurik-Satterfield

USA Women in Fuzhou

USAFendrick-Sweat
USAKessy-Day
USAHochevar-Fopma
USACarico-Ross
USARoss-Walsh

Live Streams

Men's Main Draw Results

Match # Phase Date Time Court # Team A Team B Result Duration

Women's Main Draw Results

Match # Phase Date Time Court # Team A Team B Result Duration

Men's Qualification Results

Match # Phase Date Time Court # Team A Team B Result Duration

Women's Qualification Results

Match # Phase Date Time Court # Team A Team B Result Duration

Photo: FIVB