Canada to semifinals with five-set win over Puerto Rico


SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador, July 31, 2014 - Canada overcame Puerto Rico in five-set battle 25-23, 25-27, 25-23, 23-25​​, 15-10 to claim first place in Group B at the NORCECA Boys’ U21 Continental Championship and the second ticket to the semifinals phase.


Despite the great effort of the opposite Roberto Perez, who had 34 points, Puerto Rico could not close the game in part due to the actions of the "Canadian Towers" Brandon Koppers (2:00 meters), Captain Ryan Ninkifor (1.99 cm) and Blake Scheerhoom (2.02 cm).


Koppers led Canada with 18 points, Lucas Coleman was next with 14, Scheerhoorn added 13 and Ninkifor chipped in with 11 points.  Canada held the advantage in blocks 12-9 and serves 3-2 while both teams had the same number of spikes with 61.




Ryan Nickifor, Canada Captain: “We needed a little bit more. We battled and used a lot of energy. We are pleased with the result. This match got the best from us."


John Barrett, Canada’s Coach: “It was a good match, but I think we can play better. When we made mistakes we continued forward and didn’t lose momentum. We will talk about the mistakes to improve. Puerto Rico had a good match too.”


Roberto Perez, scoring leader of Puerto Rico: "The difference between this game and the previous one is that more players were involved in the attack. We lost the reception and some concentration, the focus. I think we are not yet at 100 percent, we're half our level and have room to get there."


Brian Negron, Captain of Puerto Rico: "We are in the tournament. It's still early and there is time for improvement. We lacked courage and a bit of attitude."


Juan Aviles, Puerto Rico’s Coach: "I think we made a series of costly mistakes. We fought a lot, even between us at times. We also have very few players contributing in the attack.”