CAGUAS, Puerto Rico, January 10, 2004 - Canada recovered from a 1-2 deficit to edge Puerto Rico in five thrilling sets 23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-18, 15-10 to finish in third place at the NORCECA Men's Olympic Qualifier Tournament in Puerto Rico.
Like in the first match between these two teams, both sides battled strongly showing a lot of pride. Canada used all their top players and made two comebacks for the win in the second and fourth sets.
"It was a well fought match, and all the sacrifices of my team end with this victory," said Stelio DeRocco, the Canadian coach. "Now we just have to wait and hope the FIVB invites us to one of the Olympic Qualifying tournaments in May."
In the tie-breaker, the offense of Paul Duerden and Jason Haldane were fundamental reasons for a comfortable victory for the North Americans.
"Like in other occasions we lacked the big offense and failed to keep the rhythm you need to play at this level," said Luis Ruiz, the coach of Puerto Rico.
For Canada Haldane and Ross Ballard had 15 points apiece and Duerden tallied 14 while Puerto Rico's Hector Soto led all the scorers with 25 points.