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Volleyball Canada – Tokyo, Japan, May 28, 2016 : It was a tough battle, but in the end Poland took the tie-break win over Canada 3-2 (25-18, 17-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-9) on the opening day of the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament (WOQT) at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
 
“We wished we had two points or a victory, but we’ll take that point (from the 3-2 loss),” said Canada’s head coach, Glenn Hoag. “I told the guys that we’ll have to fight in every match, and that’s what we’ll do until the end to try to get our ticket to Rio, and we just have to turn around quickly now and not focus on this match too much.  I’m really proud of how the guys played. We didn’t play perfectly, but we played at a very good level. It’s fun to see Gavin (Schmitt) back from his injury. This is his first match since the World Cup last year – he’s got a big heart and he gave it his all and did well.”

Bartosz Kurek was top scorer with 21 points, followed by Mateusz Mika with 18 points as Poland’s second best scorer. For Canada, Gord Perrin and Gavin Schmitt finished with 18 and 17 points, respectively.
 
Poland, world ranked number two and 2014 World Champions, came out with strong offense to win the first set, but Canada remained composed to comfortably control the second set.
 
Canada continued its momentum and led in the third set, but Poland was able to cut down the Canadian lead at 19-17. Poland scored on four more runs and snatched the lead. Kurek tipped the ball to give Poland set point 24-21, until Mika sealed off the set at 25-21 for a 2-1 set-edge over Canada. Canada once again led in the fourth set 14-11, but this time, the team protected the lead to force a tie-breaker 25-18.
 
Poland, however, got off to a roaring start in the fifth set, with a 7-1 lead and then made it 9-2 from an ace by Kurek. Poland maintained control and won the set and match 15-9.
 
“At the end of the day, Poland served and received better in the fifth set and this was the most important factor,” said Canada’s team captain Rudy Verhoeff. “Their serve pressure paid off. I’m happy with our resiliency but not satisfied with the result. We did get one point in this match, which is good.”
 
Hoag agreed that Canada’s reception broke down in the fifth.

“Obviously I think the team is disappointed with the loss,” said coach Hoag. “I think we fought, but now we have to turn our attention to Iran in the morning and that’s what we’ll do”

The WOQT is a round robin tournament: eight teams are competing in 28 games, with each country playing seven matches in as many days.

 
Canadian Roster:
#1  TJ Sanders, London, ON
#2  Gordon Perrin, Creston, BC
#3  Dan Lewis, Oakville, ON
#4  Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC|
#5  Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary, AB
#6  Justin Duff, Winnipeg, MB
#8  Adam Simac, Ottawa, ON
#10 Toon Van Lankvelt, Rivers, MB
#11 Daniel Jansen Van Doorn, Langley, BC
#12 Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon, SK 
#17 Graham Vigrass, Calgary, AB
#19 Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB
#21 Jay Blankenau, Sherwood Park, AB
#22 Steven Marshall, Abbotsford, BC
 
Staff in Japan:
Julien Boucher – Team Manager
Glenn Hoag – Head Coach
Larry McKay – Asst. Coach 
Vincent Pichette – Asst. Coach 
Murat Haktanir – Statistician 
Mathieu Seguin – Therapist 
Jean-Sebastien Hartell – Therapist 
Hikaru Ohtani – Team liaison  

Volleyball Canada media contact:
Jackie Skender
E-mail: jskender@volleyball.ca
Phone: 613.794.7676