Finland was beaten by Canada 1-3 at home and should forget about a journey to Argentina for the World League Final Six while the “Maple leaves” still keep a safe distance to the Netherlands that defeated Korea in four sets. ‘Oranje’ has one point lead over Canada in standings and if they win all remaining games, they will see a famous beach in Mar De Plata.
Finland 1 – 3 Canada (13-25, 25-22, 21-25, 20-25)
Finland: Esko 1, Sivula 9, Matti Oivanen 12, Mikko Oivanan 18, Siltala 2, Lehtonen 5, Kerminen (L) and Kunnari 10, Ojansivu 2, Tervaporti, Shumov
Canada: Schneider 6, Winters 12, Simac 5, Soonias 17, Perrin 14, Verhoeff 12, Lewis (L) and Mainville 2, Vigrass, Howarson
Canada played an efficient, well balanced game, mixing raw power with soft touches, classy defense-splitting serves and a good defense of its own. The team managed to build up easy finishes for points at a bigger rate than the hosts whose game in comparison was a bit one-dimensional.
With three points from the win, Canada moved to lead Pool C with 15 points ahead of the Netherlands at 13, with one game less. But the great significance for the guests was that they upped the margin to third-place Finland to six points.
Canada’s left-handed opposite Dallas Soonias was a star in the game finishing with 17 points, constantly keeping the Finns guessing, while Rudy Verhoeff, 12 points, and John Gordon Perrin, 14 points, were prominent too. Frederic Winters had 12 points.
For Finland, Mikko Oivanen spiked 18 points, with twin brother Matti starring in the blocks with 12 points.
In the first set, Finland had problems returning, especially with Verhoeff on the serve. The Canadians also showed a smart finishing, varying the pace of the ball. A few tremendous defensive lunges, and the ability to keep errors at a minimum, Canadian won the set, 25-13.
Finland hung on in the second set winning 25-22, with spikers Mikko Oivanen and Urpo Sivula picking up their game. Soonias hit well from the right outside position, but after Canada lead 16-14 at the second technical time out Finland started getting blocking points and more Canadian blocks.
In the third set, Canada regrouped to lead 8-4 and 16-13 at the TTO’s and held off Finland to take a 2-1 lead, with the skillful Soonias finishing the set with two delightful open-hand tips delivered with feathery touch just over the net cord, Canada taking the set 25-21.
After trailing 5-4, Canada brought the victory home in a secure fashion, winning the fourth 25-20.
South Korea – The Netherlands 1 – 3 (23-25, 25-22, 20-25, 16-25)
South Korea: Han 2, Kwak 9, Shin 6, Seo 23, Jeon 13, Park 6, K.J Lee (L) and S.K Lee, C.W Park, Kim, Song
The Netherlands: Abdel-Aziz 8, Mann 10, Koelewijn 14, Klapwijk 14, Rauwerdink 13, Kooistra 12, Jorna (L) and Freriks
Netherlands struggled somewhat with their service, allowing Korea to win the second set and level the score at 1-1. Korea’s key attackers, Jeon Kwang-In and Seo Jae-Duck, played impressively, getting 31 points between them. Jae-Duck, who was making his debut, recorded three kill blocks against the tall opponents.
However, Korea could not maintain its teamwork, and looked tired in the third and fourth sets. Dutch setter Nimir Abdel-Aziz co-ordinated well, and spiker Jeroen Rauwerdink unleashed high, quick attacks. Korea remained solid and steady, but the Netherlands were more effective, recording 14 killing blocks.
Although Korea lost to Netherlands, the Korean team could take some encouragement. Their newly-discovered young, Jae-Duck, looked excellent. Korea have been struggling since losing Sung Min-Moon to injury against Japan. But they have found a new way to get points by dispatching Jeon Kwang-In and Seo Jae-Duck in the front line.
Jae-Duck was the match’s top scorer, with 23 points. Niels Klapwijk and Thomas Koelewijn joint top-scored for the Netherlands with 14 points.