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Canada join USA and Dominican Republic at 2018 World Championship

Canada celebrate reaching the 2018 World Championship
Lausanne, Switzerland, October 1, 2017 – Canada joined the USA and Dominican Republic in qualifying for the Italy-Bulgaria 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship on Sunday, when they won bronze at the NORCECA Continental Qualifiers.

Canada fought back from losing the opening set to win 3-1 (21-25, 25-13, 27-25, 25-18) and complete the three qualifiers from the tournament. The USA and Dominican Republic had qualified by claiming two of the berths on offer when they reached the final on Saturday. 

In the final the USA beat the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-12).

The NORCECA Continental Qualifiers started on September 26 and took place at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The top three teams in the 10-team field qualified for the 2018 World Championship and two more teams will come from a second NORCECA qualifier that will be held later in the year.

After a nervy start Canada began to capitalise on Mexico’s errors in the second set and stayed in control till the end. 

Outside hitters Nick Hoag and Stephen Maar led the scoring with 18 points each, and opposite Sherone Vernon-Evans added 17.

Opposite Daniel Vargas and outside hitter Jorge Barajas each scored 13 points for Mexico, and middle blocker Jose Martinez contributed a further 12 including a match-high four blocks.
“We knew it would be difficult,” Canada coach Stephane Antiga said. “Mexico can serve and spike it. We were not aggressive enough in the beginning, maybe not ready for a strong serve. I thought we played a serious game. 

“We started really slow. We started sleeping, if you will, and they played very spirited,” Canada captain Gordon Perrin said. “They played good defence. They were able to give us a difficult match. We just needed to wake up and play. 

“They have two big servers that gave us problems in the first set, Rangel and Barajas, but after we were able to side them out after one or two and that takes a lot out of their game.”

The USA’s victory meant they went through the tournament with a record of five wins and no defeats. Opposite Matt Anderson again led scoring, with 12 points and setter Micah Christenson was named MVP.

“We had an emotional match with Canada yesterday so I was pleased with our team’s ability to come back and be really quite focused and perform at a high level,” USA coach John Speraw said.  

“I was worried about a let-down and I thought they went out and did a really admirable job of playing USA Volleyball.”

Tournament Awards
Most Valuable Player: Micah Christenson (USA)
Best Scorer: Alberto Blanco (Costa Rica)
Best Spiker: Aaron Russell (USA)
Best Spiker: Stephen Maar (Canada)
Best Middle: Jose Martinez (Mexico)
Best Middle: Leonel Antonio Aragon (Guatemala)
Best Setter: Pedro Rangel (Mexico)
Best Opposite: Sharone Vernon-Evans (Canada)
Best Libero: Luis Chavez (Costa Rica)
Best Receiver: Jorge Barajas (Mexico)
Best Digger: Luis Chavez (Costa Rica)
Best Server: Joann Breleur (Martinique)

For more information on the tournament, click here

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