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Canada opens World League with win over Netherlands


Gavin Schmitt dives for the ball in Canada's win over the Netherlands on Friday

Quebec City, May 31, 2013 – Canada overcame deficits in the third and fourth sets to defeat the Netherlands 25-22, 22-25, 27-25, 27-25 on Friday in the opening match for both teams in the FIVB World League.

Gavin Schmitt led the Canadian attack with 23 points while Fred Winters and Gord Perrin added 10 each. More than 3,500 fans attended the match at the Colisee. The match was also carried live across Canada on Sportsnet.

“I feel great about the match,” said Winters.  “Winning was the most important thing. It was our first highly competitive match in a long time and we responded.”

For the Netherlands, Wytze Kooistra was the match’s top scorer with 28 points while Jeroen Rauwerdink added 17.

“We had a lot of opportunities in the third and fourth sets,” said Kooistra.  “Canada played a very consistent match and made it difficult for us. We can’t make mistakes like that against such a strong team.”

The Dutch struggled with the serve and made 41 unforced errors in the match compared to 22 for the Canadians.

The turning point in the match was in the third set as Canada scored six straight points to overcome a 16-19 deficit. That run included consecutive blocks by Louis-Pierre Mainville and Adam Simac, and a Schmitt service ace that tied the set at 19-19.

Schmitt was the catalyst again in the fourth with two straight kills to pull the Canadians to 14-14 after trailing the set to that point.

“We showed a lot of character,” said Winters. “They let us off the hook with their serves and we knew we could get back in the game. The third set was a huge momentum shift.”

Hoag said he wasn’t surprised the match was close.

“This is like an Olympic-caliber tournament,” he said. “I’m expecting tough matches every night. Our offence was becoming too predictable going into the third and Louis-Pierre and Olivier (Faucher) came in late in the sets and they did the job.”

Dutch coach Edwin Benne was pleased to see his young team perform at such a high level.

“It was a high level game,” said Benne.  “It was physical on both sides. I'm not happy with the loss, but I'm very happy with the level of play.”

The two countries meet again on Saturday at the Colisee at 4pm (local time).

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