TAMPERE, Finland—Less than 24 hours made a world of difference for Canada’s men’s volleyball team Saturday.
Canada defeated Finland 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-17) in World League pool play, a day after dropping a disappointing decision to the Finns.
“I don’t think after (Friday) that anyone on our team was satisfied with our performance,” said Canada’s captain Fred Winters of Victoria, who had 10 points. “We should be kicking ourselves that we didn’t play a lot better on Friday because we had a chance to earn some (World League) points.”
Gavin Schmitt of Saskatoon had 15 points, while Toontje Van Lankvelt of Rivers, Man., had 13.
“We came in a lot more focused and executed a game plan a lot better—we were more mentally here today,” said Schmitt, who contributed 15 points. “We had some guys step up. We are plagued with injuries, so the young guys did well—TJ (Sanders) had a really good game today. I was really happy with the collective team effort.”
Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag was much happier with Saturday’s effort, but concerned over the toll that the tournament’s travel schedule is taking on his team.
“I’m very proud of the guys—right now our team is really, really, tired and we are losing players to injury. The travel and the jet lag is starting to cost us,” Hoag said. “The whole team played in the moment today, and stayed focused the whole time. It’s been a long World League for everybody, and maybe that explains why the teams have been so irregular.”
Canada is without setter Dustin Schneider, left side Gord Perrin, and middle Rudy Verhoeff, who are all back in Canada recovering from injuries.
Belgium, which defeated Australia on Saturday, leads Pool C with 23 points, Canada has 17, the Finns have 12 and Australia, 8. The top team advances to the next round, with Australia getting a spot as the host country.
The Canadians now head to Sydney now to take on the “Volleyroos”—a team they faced in Edmonton last weekend, splitting their two games.
“We need to go and play the best volleyball we can against Australia. A good objective for this coming weekend is to win two consistent games,” said Hoag.