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Canadian men claim Olympic ticket in Sochi

Grant O'Gorman, Sam Pedlow, Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter claimed the second olympic ticket for Canada
Sochi, Russia, July 10, 2016 – Josh Binstock, Sam Schachter, Grant O’Gorman and Sam Pedlow won a berth for the Rio Olympic Games for Canada on Sunday by defeating Venezuela 2-1 at the FIVB World Continental Cup in Sochi. A play-off on July 16 will now decide which of the two Canadian teams will fly out to Rio.

After an easy 2-0 against Venezuela in pool play, Canada was challenged hard in the semifinal as Venezuelan youngsters Rolando ‘Peter’ Hernandez and Jose ‘Tigrito’ Gomez upset Binstock and Schachter 2-1 (13-21, 21-19, 15-13) in the first match.

The Canadians had started well with an easy 21-13 win in the first set, but made a lot of unforced errors in the second, giving the Venezuelans the chance to catch their rhythm.

In the tiebreak it was point-by-point until at 12-12 Binstock received a red card for stalling. The Canadians lost focus from there and at 14-13 Tigrito hit the winning shot down the line.

O’Gorman and Pedlow then brought Canada back into business with a clean 2-0 (21-15, 21-12) win over Jesus Villafane and Jackson Henriquez.

In the golden set O’Gorman and Pedlow, who didn’t lose a set during the whole tournament, were sent out on the court again and once more showed super form by defeating Jackson Henriquez and Peter 15-11.

“These guys play amazing”, said Binstock, who is the only one in the team with previous Olympic experience, since he and Martin Reader finished 17th at the London Olympic Games. “They played free and you can tell they are having fun with it. And that’s when people are playing their best volleyball, when they are playing free and fun.”

“For it to actually happen is surreal”, said an ever-smiling Grant O’Gorman after the golden set. “We just played so well this whole week and I am so thankful for Sam being my partner to be on this journey with me.”

He and Pedlow have been playing together since 2013, but this year finally things came together. “Our coach has put us on a system that has really allowed us to believe in our abilities and what we can do”, Pedlow said.

“I think the biggest thing that has made the difference is that we have been getting these big points. Again today we got one when Grant got a chest dig over the net to score. Those are back breakers. The more of those we get, the better chance we have to win.”

On July 16 both teams are on opposite sides of the net somewhere in Canada, battling out who will go to Rio. While O’Gorman and Pedlow have no FIVB podium placements yet, but are in super form, Binstock and Schachter are the more experienced team with one gold and three silver medals on the World Tour.

Binstock: “We have a great record against them. I think we haven’t lost against them in the last two years. But that’s dangerous, because they are going to continue playing free and confident. But that’s good. Because you don’t want to be playing against anybody unless it’s their best. That makes it fun. So it will be exciting and I am looking forward to it.”

The winning Canadian team completes pool A with Alison/Bruno (BRA), Carambula/Ranghieri (ITA) and Doppler/Horst (AUT). Canada now has two men’s teams in the Rio Olympics, since Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton already qualified through the World Tour Olympic ranking.

The second semifinal in Sochi is a match-up between Belgium and Russia.

19.05 Stoyanovskiy/Yarzutkin (RUS) – Douwen/Urnaut (BEL)
20.05 Liamin/Barsouk (RUS) – Koekelkoren/Van Walle (BEL)

If needed a golden set will be played.

Quick links:
FIVB World Continental Cup Olympic Qualification - Website
Men - Results/Schedule
Women - Results/Schedule


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