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MATCH INFO

Canadians can't hold lead in 3-2 loss to Australia


Paul Carroll (17) of Australia spikes the ball past Canadian defenders in Edmonton on Friday

Edmonton, AB. June 20, 2014 – Team Canada suffered its third loss in seven games during FIVB World League play when they dropped a 3-2 (27-25, 25-20, 28-30, 17-25, 13-15) decision to the 14th-ranked Australian team at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday, June 20.

The loss is a severe blow to Canada’s shot at winning Pool C, and advancing to the next round of play.

“It was a really disappointing game for us,” said Canadian captain Fred Winters. “It makes it really hard for us to win the group which I think was our goal, but obviously Australia picked it up after the first two sets. Congratulations to Australia, they just played solid throughout, after the first two sets and we lost our rhythm and I think we were tight and it’s just really disappointing.”

Despite earning a 2-0 match lead, and getting a match-high 31 points by Gavin Schmitt (Saskatoon), 11th-ranked Canada committed a slew of errors on the night as Australia forced their way back to win in five.

With momentum fully on their side, after coming back from down 2-0, Australia was able to generate an 8-5 fifth-set lead, but points by Rudy Verhoeff (Calgary) and Gord Perrin (Creston) drew Canada to within one point. A beautiful cross-court kill by Nehemiah Mote gave the Aussies some breathing room, but Schmitt and Perrin leveled the score at 9-9, much to the delight of the 3,500 fans in attendance. Canada then committed three errors, including two at the service line, over the next eight points to help the Volleyroos to a 14-12 lead, which they eventually converted into a 15-13 set win and the 3-2 match victory.

“I’m really proud of the boys after today’s win, especially after the first set, to maintain our focus,” exclaimed Australian captain Aidan Zingel. ‘We came so close in the first set; it was a bit of a turning point. We lost it a bit in the second, but to keep it going, to win the third and fourth and to stay with it until the end was incredible, especially the players coming off the bench. They did an excellent job, so it was a great team performance all around.”

It is Australia’s third win in FIVB World League play this season. They sit in third place in the Pool C standings.

The Aussies were led by Paul Carroll’s 24 points, but also got 16 from Adam White and 15 points from team captain Aidan Zingel.

Although Canada recorded 62 kills to Australia’s 55, Glenn Hoag’s squad committed, or was forced into, 41 errors on the night, including 24 at the service line.

Canada will clash with the Volleyroos one more time in Edmonton on Saturday, June 21, and the two teams will also meet in Australia July 2-6.

The Canadians took the opening set 27-25, largely thanks to nine kills off the powerful arm of Schmitt, but despite leading 8-6 and 16-14 at the technical timeouts, they had to shake off some off costly errors to earn the win. Schmitt was a force for Canada, including one rally that saw the big man make a diving dig to keep the ball in play, and then finish off the rally with an unstoppable kill to the right side. Canada then fired the first of three consecutive service errors to allow the ‘Roos back into the set, making the score 23-23. Kills by Perrin and Schmitt, coupled by errors by Australia, however, cemented the 27-25 opening set victory.

Once again led by Schmitt, who added another six kills in the second set, Canada overpowered the Aussies en route to a 25-20 victory. The teams engaged in a seesaw battle in the early going, but Canada led at both technical timeouts, including 16-13 at the second break courtesy a Perrin stuff block. It was after that point that Canada took over with Schmitt picking up a pair of kills to put Canada up 18-13, while Perrin, Fred Winters (Victoria) and Verhoeff strung together some great blocks and timely kills in the second set win.

The third set followed the trend of the two teams keeping it close through the first two timeouts, but Australia changed the outcome when they took the lead, 17-16, which was their first technical timeout lead of the match. From that point on Australia’s middle game, highlighted by Zingel, did a great job forcing Canada into attack errors. Zingel and Mote recorded two solo stuff blocks each, helping the Aussies to a slim 24-23 lead. After Canada tied it, the teams traded points back and forth, including two kills from Carroll, while Mote and White recorded back-to-back blocks to push Australia to the 30-28 set victory.

The fourth set belong the ‘Roos, as Carroll and company opened up leads of 16-12 and 20-15 en route to a match-tying 25-17 victory.

“I love the mentality of the Australian team players,” said Jon Uriarte, head coach of the Australian team. “They keep trying hard, taking feedback from the match, learning from the match and putting it into practice in the next set. Today this mentality paid off.”

Canada’s loss, coupled with a 3-1 Belgian victory over Finland tonight, leaves them in second place in Pool C of the World League standings. Belgium continues to lead the group with 16 points, while Canada sits with 11.

Australia was very patient and that’s the way these games should be played,” noted Canadian head coach Glenn Hoag. “We didn’t show as much patience as they did. We became very scrappy in our play and they just kept doing what they do. They set up their block defence really well, and contained us until the end of the match. So we need to go back and see why things are not functioning. We pour a lot of energy into our game but not always quality."

Perrin, Verhoeff and Winters all earned 13 points each in the loss for Canada.

Canada and Australia will play again on Saturday, June 21 at Rexall Place. Following the matches in Edmonton, Team Canada will travel to Tampere, Finland June 27-28.


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