Canada’s Opponents Wrap Up Their National Leagues
The Brazilian Championship (called Superliga) wrapped up their 2011/2012 season today. Brazil has been dominating indoor volleyball since 2001, remaining as number one on FIVB rank despite the Russian victory at 2011 World Cup, the latest major tournament. With the end of Superliga, coach Bernardo Rezende will call the players for the World League and the Olympics. Brazil is the only country that hasn’t sent their roster to FIVB so far. In the final match today, Cruzeiro won the title for the first time, beating Volei Futuro 3-1. Both teams are led by their setters. Cruzeiro’s is William Arjona, nicknamed “el mago” during the years he played in Argentina and chosen Superliga MVP. On Volei Futuro side, nothing less than Ricardo Garcia, considered by many the best setter ever. Arjona won this time. You can check the match highlights. Some of these players may be seen on Rezende’s list.
The Polish league, called PlusLiga, reached the final stage. Asseco Resovia leads 2-1 against Skra Belchatow the playoff series, held in best of five matches. Skra was favourite, as reigning Polish champion and runner-up in the last Champions League (main European club tournament), but lost the first two matches to Resovia, a team that has on the German opposite Georg Grozer their main weapon. Skra has a star-studded roster, with some of the main names of Polish volleyball, like Bartosz Kurek and Mariusz Wlazly.
Both Brazil and Poland will face Canada in the 2012 World League – Team Canada’s opponents were silver and bronze medallists (respectively) last year. Finland completes the pool. World League enters its 23rd year in 2012. Established in 1990, World League is the premier annual men’s international volleyball tournament. This year's competition is set to take place from May 18 to July 1 across 16 countries with each week featuring four pools in four cities, in a round-robin format. The finals will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria from July 4 to 8. The six team finals consist of: the host, the four pool winners and the best second place. Canada’s leg will be held in Toronto, from May 18 - 20 at RicoH Coliseum, a sports arena located at Exhibition Place. Toronto will also host the Canadian Open Championships on the same weekend. Already slated as the largest volleyball event in Canadian history, it is expected to attract over 10,000 players, coaches and officials from across the country. National titles in various age groups will be on the line for men and women. It will definitely be a great time for Canadian volleyball.