A huge weekend on the horizon for Canada and Belgium in Vancouver
"After a challenging weekend in Belgium, we still managed to come away with two points from the win on Friday, but were obviously disappointed by last Sunday’s loss. The teams in our pool are all tough competitors and the games this weekend promise to be very fast-paced again," said Canada coach Glenn Hoag. Canada won the first contest with Belgium on Friday in Liège in a roller-coaster five sets (25-22, 21-25, 17-25, 25-20, 14-16).
Although both Canada and Belgium are 3-1, the visitors have 10 points going in to this weekend, while Canada have seven, as five-set wins count for one point less each. Finland have four points and Australia, who face Canada for the first time in Edmonton on June 20 and 21, have three points.
Belgium’s coach Dominique Baeyens pointed to the matches against Canada in Vancouver as critical to his team’s pool C chances after the Belgians won 3-1 (33-31, 25-12, 21-25, 25-23) on Sunday in Antwerp. "That we won is important. We know that we are still in the position to win this pool. We already have a big difference with Australia and Finland, so next week can be important in Vancouver to know how far we can go in this FIVB World League."
Canada’s team features two British Columbia natives: captain Fred Winters of Victoria and Gord Perrin, originally from Creston, B.C. Trinity Western University grad Rudy Verhoeff of Calgary is also in Vancouver ready to play this weekend.
"There is always a little added excitement in playing at home but the team is so focused on recapturing first place in our pool that it's all business this week," said Winters, who spent his pro season in China. "Playing at home gives friends and family a chance to see what we do year round in person and for that reason it's always a great time."
Coach Hoag is looking forward to playing in front of a supportive crowd in Vancouver. "We are challenging the fans to be even louder than the enthusiastic support we received in Calgary during our games against Finland. This is a rare opportunity for Canadian fans to witness high-quality volleyball on home soil.”