WL: Canada earns vital win. Portugal advanced

Canada defended the ends of the first and second set reaching an important victory over Finland. The Glenn Hoag’s boys took transition leadership in Pool C. Portugal claimed a first duel against Japan in Guimaraes and outrun Finland in Power Ranking. Alex Ferreira “Alex” played another superb game posting 20 points.

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Finland – Canada 0 – 3 (23-25, 22-25, 17-25)

Finland: Esko 1, Kunnari 12, Matti Oivanen 9, Mikko Oivanen 6, Siltala 6, Shumov 5, Kerminen (L) and Ojansivu 2, Lehtonen, Sivula 4, Tervaportti. Hietanen 3
Canada: Schneider, Winters 12, Simac 6, Soonias 17, Perrin 18, Verhoeff 4, Lewis (L) and Howatson 2, Van Lankvelt, Vigrass, DeRocco

The maximum six points from two games in Finland makes Canada a strong challenger to the Netherlands for the one place in the World League finals reserved for a Pool C team. It was the first time Canada has recorded six wins in a single World League season beating their record of five in 1999.

The crowd of 3,950 saw that Finland’s blocking could not match the raw power of Canada’s left side hitter Gordon Perrin who finished with 18 points, also pitching in three blocks. Right side hitter Dallas Soonias was his dangerous self and went on to make 17 points, while team captain Fred Winters contributed with twelve, and a solid reception game. Josh Howatson set up many points well. Libero Daniel Lewis showed sensational positional sense, enabling him to a dozen good digs.

For Finland, Olli Kunnari had 12 points, and Matti Oivanen nine.

After two tight sets won, Canada let loose in the third and raced to lead 8-2 and 16-6 at the technical time outs. From 18-8 on, Canada matched every single Finnish point with one of its own until getting match points at 24-15.

Canada managed to steal the first set after Finland led 8-6 and 16-14 at the technical time outs. Tall middle blocker Konstantin Shumov,  not much used, finished well on quick sets. Soonias started to show up after a quiet start, and together with left side hitting colleague Perrin he dragged Canada up and past. Finland crept to tie at 23-23, but a one-on-one block  gave a set point which Finland lost on a three-meter line infringement, giving it to Canada 25-23.

Soonias and Perrin continued scoring in the second set, five points each, and towards the end Canada could make it a three point lead. Perrin’s power and a two-man block by Howatson and Adam Simac led to a set point finished by Simac again.

Individual stats:

FinlandSpike %BlockServeDigReceptionRunning Sets  NoteMikko Esko    100%     4         10.67Olli Kunnari    59%      2   4        54% Matti Oivanen    71%     1     3   4        66% Antti Siltala    30%     5        43% Konstantin Shumov    62%     1  Lauri Kerminen (L)      6        74% Olli-Peka Ojansivu      0%     1     1   1  Juka Lehtonen      0%     1  Urpo Sivula     50%     2  Eemi Tervaportti    100%     1          3.33Matti Hietanen     30%     1    1        66% 


CanadaSpike %BlockServeDigReceptionRunning SetsDustin Schneider       0%               4.33Fred Winters      53%     2     1   1       38% Adam Simac      75%     2     1   2  Dallas Soonias      55%     2    2  Gordon Perrin      56%     3     1   9  Rudy Verhoeff      100%     1    2  Dan Lewis (L)     12        61% Josh Howatson      50%     1    1            1.33Tony Van Lankveld       0%     Graham Vigrass       0%     Jason DeRocco      


Team Stats:

ActionFinlandCanadaSpike points      41    45Spike %      41%    55%Block       3    11Serve       6     3Dig      34    29Reception      57%    39%Running set note      14   5.67


Portugal – Japan 3 – 1 (25-22, 20-25, 26-24, 25-15)

Portugal: Pinheiro 4, Lopes 14, Jose 9, Sequeira 21, Alex 20, Marcel 7, Coelho (L) and Violas, Casas, Gomes
Japan: Kondoh 2, Fukuzawa 17, Yamamura 3, Yako 13, Koshikawa 17, Suzuki 2, Nagano (L) and Imamura, Yokota 1, Gottsu 3, Yoneuama 3, Matsumoto

Japan started the match well, with their attack causing problems for the Portuguese block. At the 1st TTO, Japan was ahead by 8-6, but two points from Alex Ferreira (attack and block), an ace from Nuno Pinheiro and a spike from Valdir Sequeira (10-8) forced Japan coach Gary Sato to ask for a timeout. Another ace from the Portuguese setter increased the pressure (12-8) on Japan and, at the 2nd TTO, the home team led by four points. Japan recovered soon after, led in the attack by Daisuke Yako and Yu Koshikawa, but a block from Marcel Gil renewed Portugal’s confidence (20-16), and closed the set winning (25-22).

The second set was much less balanced. Portugal led at the 1st TTO, with an attack from Joao Jose at the first touch (8-7), but Japan took the lead through an attack from Koshikawa (11-9) and increased the gap in the score (14-10). The growing confidence of the Japanese team, showing an improved attack and block (24-18), was rewarded with the triumph in the set, (25-20), scored by Koshikawa in the attack.

Japan maintained its momentum in the third set, with Gary Sato’s team leading (3-1, 8-7). Portugal took the lead with two points from Valdir Sequeira (11-10), but Japan charged again (13-12) led by Tatsuya Fukuzawa, who scored the 16th point (16-13). Supported by their home crowd, Portugal recovered (19-19), but Koshikawa scored his 15th point of the match on another ace and retook the lead (21-19). The tie at 22 kept everything open, but Alex solved the question with a point in the attack and another in the block (26-24).

Portugal came out strong in the beginning of the 4th set (5-1), but Japan responded with the orientals traditional patience (5-5). Valdir was much less patient, and scored four consecutive points (11-5). Unstoppable, developing a joyful and effective game,Portugal sped up (17-7) towards a triumph that rewarded their attitude and unconditional support of the crowd (25-15) with an ace from Andre Lopes.

Valdir Sequeira (21) and Alexandre Ferreira (Alex) (20) were the best scorers of the match, while Tatsuya Fukuzawa and Yu Koshikawa, both with 17 points, were the top scorers for the Japanese. The attack and block were decisive in the match, with the home team superior on those two skills.

Individual stats:

PortugalSpike%BlockServeDigReceptionRunning Sets NoteNuno Pinheiro     25%      3             7.25Andre Lopes     37%     4     1   2       65% Joao Jose     54%     3    Valdir Sequeira     37%     4     1   2  Alex Ferreira     58%      1   4       28% Marcel Gil     55%     2    1  Joao Coelho (L)      3       16% Tiago Violas                 1.25Ivo Casas      Jose Gomes      


JapanSpike %BlockServeDigReceptionRunnig Sets NoteShigeru Kondoh      0%     2             4.25Tatsuya Fukuzawa     46%     1     2        20% Kota Yamamura     25%     Daisuke Yako     54%     Yu Koshikawa     33%      3   1        28% Yoshifumi Suzuki      0%     2    Takeshi Nagano (L)      3        70% Shum Imamura                1.5Kazuyoshi Yokota      0%       1   Gottsu     40%     1    Yuta Yoneyama     42%     1    Yishihiko Matsumoto      


Team stats:

ActionPortugalJapanSpike points       54    48Spike %       45%    38Block       15     7Serve        6     6Dig       12     4Reception       38%    30%Running Sete Note       8,5    5.75