By Toby White
Team Canada failed to regain their momentum on Aug. 29th, falling 3 sets to 2 against Turkey in men’s volleyball. After a loss to the experienced players from Japan the previous night, the Canadians were not able to take the win in the consolation round.
Turkey dominated the first set early on, gaining an 18-11 lead. Canada pulled out the heavy munitions, however, and Turkey was unprepared for the barrage from Dalhousie’s Joshua Muise and Laval’s Carl Lalancette. A kill by the University of Calgary’s Sean Kendal brought the match to within a point at 23-22. But the comeback was not to be and a pair of missed serves allowed Turkey to gobble up the set at 25-22.
The second set was a nail-biter. Canada scored a 2-0 lead to open the set, but Turkey quickly evened the score. The two teams traded fire for what seemed like an eternity, with no one gaining more that a single point lead. The score tipped frighteningly in favour of the Turks at 24-22 but the Canadians quickly climbed back. Kendal was substituted in at 26-26 and scored a powerful kill to give the Canadians a point, but the end was far from near. Kendal expressed his frustration with the back-and-forth action in the game.
“Whenever we would give anyone a few streaks they went up and down on us,” said Kendal.
Superb setting from captain Mike Munday and hits from Lalancette continued to be equaled by superb blocking on the part of the Turkish team. A controversial call at 34-all looked like it might suck the wind from the Canadians’ sails, but they finally pulled ahead and took the set 36-34 on a stinging ace by Manitoba’s Peter Turpin.
The team was visibly fired up after the second set with Munday yelling to his team: “Let’s have some fun, let’s take this personal boys!”
And the Canadians were indeed on fire for the third set. Canada launched an onslaught, quickly taking a 13-10 lead. Kendal lined up a pair of blocks and stuffed Turkey, leaving them behind 15-10 and unable to recover. Savage attacks from Muise and Lalancette once again handed a set to the Canadians 25-16.
Kendal was impressed with the way the team bounced back from their loss to Japan.
"I felt I played a thousand times better tonight," Kendal said. "We played with more confidence, especially in the third. We were swinging tonight, we weren’t really last night."
The Canadians let their guard down, quite literally, in the fourth, however. The Turks came on hard, finding holes in Canada’s defense and putting up a strong block. Turkey surged ahead 14-7 and the Canadians were unable to regroup and battle back. They lost the set 25-14, sending the match to a fifth set. Head Coach Greg Ryan felt the team should have been able to fend off the Turkish assault.
"Turkey’s a different team and we didn’t adjust very well," said Ryan. "We didn’t adjust and that’s what we have to do."
Canada led in the opening points of the fifth set, but the Turks poured on the steam, bouncing back. A bad line call on a block by Turkey put the Canadians down 13-10 and they couldn’t rebound. The Canucks fought hard but the Turkish team took the set 15-13.
Ryan was impressed with his team’s overall effort.
"I’m happy with the fact that they battled through tonight," said Ryan.
He still felt the team should not have let their loss against Japan psych them out for the game, however.
"The game against Japan had a huge effect on the guys," said Ryan. "But that’s not an excuse"
Ryan believes his team has a lot of potential and wants to see more action like that shown in the third set.
"To be an elite athlete you need to make that happen all the time," argued Ryan. "You need to know yourself, it’s an individual thing"
Ryan will take his team to their final consolation match for seventh place against Germany on Saturday.