Canada and Korea claimed the opening wins in World League 2013. Gavin Schmitt and rest beat the Netherlands after an aligned and high level duel. However, the result would be quite reverse, if only the Dutch had not committed 41 unforced mistakes. In the second match, Korea left no doubt Japan in great volleyball derby of Asia to local fans amazement, who filled the Hwasung Indoor Gym in Hwasung.
Canada – Netherlands 3 – 1 (25-22, 22-25, 27-25, 27-25)
Canada: Schneider 1, Winters 10, Brinkman 3, Schmitt 23, Perrin 10, Simac 6, Bann (L) and Mainville 3, Van Lankvelt 1, Vigrass 3
The Netherlands: Abdel-Aziz 8, Ter Horst 7, Koelewijn 9, Kooistra 28, Rauwerdink 17, Bontje 6, Jorna (L) and Van Bemmelen, Van Garderen
Gavin Schmitt led the Canadian attack with 23 points while Fred Winters and Gordon Perrin added 10 each. More than 3,500 fans attended the match at the Colisee. The match was also carried live across Canada on Sportsnet.
“I feel great about the match,” said Winters. “Winning was the most important thing. It was our first highly competitive match in a long time and we responded.”
For the Netherlands, Wytze Kooistra was the match’s top scorer with 28 points while Jeroen Rauwerdink added 17.
“We had a lot of opportunities in the third and fourth sets,” said Kooistra. “Canada played a very consistent match and made it difficult for us. We can’t make mistakes like that against such a strong team.”
The Dutch struggled with the serve and made 41 unforced errors in the match compared to 22 for the Canadians.
The turning point in the match was in the third set as Canada scored six straight points to overcome a 16-19 deficit. That run included consecutive blocks by Louis-Pierre Mainville and Adam Simac, and a Schmitt service ace that tied the set at 19-19.
Schmitt was the catalyst again in the fourth with two straight kills to pull the Canadians to 14-14 after trailing the set to that point.
“We showed a lot of character,” said Winters. “They let us off the hook with their serves and we knew we could get back in the game. The third set was a huge momentum shift.”
Hoag said he wasn’t surprised the match was close.
“This is like an Olympic-caliber tournament,” he said. “I’m expecting tough matches every night.Our offence was becoming too predictable going into the third and Louis-Pierre and Olivier (Faucher) came in late in the sets and they did the job.”
Dutch coach Edwin Benne was pleased to see his young team perform at such a high level.
“It was a high level game,” said Benne. “It was physical on both sides. I’m not happy with the loss, but I’m very happy with the level of play.”
The two countries meet again on Saturday at the Colisee at 4pm (local time).
Korea – Japan 3 – 1 (25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 25-19)
Korea: Han 1, Moon 11, Shin 13, C.W Park 14, Jeon 14, S.H Park 12, K.J Lee (L) and M.G Lee, Kwak 6, Bu, J.H Kim
Japan: Kondoh 1, Fukuzawa 17, Suzuki 6, Yako 13, Gottsu 2, Yamamura 4, Nagano (L) and Koshikawa 14, Imamura 1, Yokota 4, Yoneyama
Many expected that the match-up between the two Asian rivals would be tight, just like their encounters in the past, but the Koreans recorded a strong finish against Japan and foiled Gary Sato’s debut as Japan’s head coach.
Korea led all throughout the first set from a balanced attack tactic from their players.
Korea still managed to outplay the Japanese in the second set and did not allow the Japanese to make any run. Japan seemed to have trouble with their teamwork and committed critical errors which the Koreans took advantage of.
Japan adjusted on their attack and utilized Tatsuya Fukuzawa to lead the Japanese surge, even taking their first lead in the match and posting a comfortable lead midway through the third set. Korea tried to get back from this setback on Park Chul-Woo and Moon Sung-Min’s strong plays.
Korea was then forced to play wounded as Moon suffered a knee injury and was replaced by Jeon Kwang-In. Japan capitalised on the absence of Moon and coped with Korea’s offensive barrage to take the third set 21-25.
Moon’s replacement, Jeon, stepped up to the challenge and sent out a series of blasting spikes that destroyed Japan’s block in the fourth set. Jeon got help from Park Sang-Ha and Shin Yung-Suk who excellently showed its prowess on the defensive end. Park and Shin teamed up with setter Han Sun-Soo who orchestrated Korea’s unstoppable quick plays, which finally sealed the Korean team victory at 25-19.