Canada off to a good start at home with 3-1 win over Venezuela
Canada pleased the home crowd with a 3-1 win (25-17, 25-27,
25-15 and 25-22) as the 12th Men’s Pan American Cup
got underway Monday at the Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau, in
Canada’s capital region.
Building on the historic bronze medal performance at the World
League earlier this month, a younger squad is looking to improve
from their third-place finish at the 2016 Pan Am, Canada’s first
medal at this event in five years.
Supported by an enthusiastic crowd, the host national started
out very strongly in the opening set, taking an 8-3 lead and
extending it to 16-6 at the second timeout and 21-11. Venezuela
did not lose hope and bounced back 17-23, before Danny
Demyanenko and Ryan Sclater’s block sealed the partial victory
The game stayed more evenly with Canada keeping a narrow lead
8-7 at the end of the first technical timeout, but the South
American squad responded with a strong attack and solid defense
to move in front 12-11 and stayed ahead 16-13. Edson Valencia
contributed with an ace and a strong attack to keep his team’s
hopes alive. Canada kept fighting and eventually tied the set at
22 and had a set point 24-23, but couldn’t capitalize from the
service line. Venezuela found an extra gear as Emerson
Rodriguez and José Verdi’s blocked the Canadian attack to even
the match 27-25.
Venezuela, third at the continental event in 2015, kept the
momentum going with an 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout,
but Schouten Casey’s lethal serve put Canada back in front
13-10. The host nation kept the advantage 16-13 at the second
timeout. A solid serve and attack led them to prevail 25-15.
Determined to finish the match in four sets, Canada showed a
solid attack and block to contain their South American rivals
8-6 at the first technical timeout. Ryan Sclater’s attack found
spaces in their rivals’ defense to extend the lead to 16-12.
Venezuela narrowed the deficit to 16-18 and then 20-22, but the
Canadians’ height proved to be decisive in the attack and block
to take the fourth and final set 25-22.
Casey Schouten and Ryan Sclater led the Canadian performance 16
with points each. Emerson Rodriguez, Edson Valencia and José
Verdi each contributed 11 for Venezuela.
Larry McKay, head coach of Canada: “Nice performance; exciting
to watch – good serving from our guys, and great for these young
guys to get a taste of success like that.”
Max Burt, captain of Canada: “Obviously the first match of the
tournament is always pretty difficult, so I’m pretty happy with
the result here. It’s also our first game as a team this season,
and that’s a pretty good Venezuelan team. It’s a very positive
start for our group and some of our guys haven’t played at this
level before, so we’re satisfied with the result tonight. “
Ronald Sarty, Venezuela’s coach: "Considering the problems we
face at home and how we got here, our team gave it all and you
see on the court. Of course, we must improve our reception, a
key element in the first part of the game and to keep the
consistency in our play. We have to be patient in this new
Olympic cycle and work individually with these players to
improve as a team overall. We aim to advance to the next round