Best Universiade result since 1983

By Barbara Wright

Dinos middle blocker Sean Kendal scored a game-high 19 points on Aug. 30 to net Canada a 3-1 win over Germany, grabbing the seventh spot in men’s volleyball at the 2003 Summer Universiade in Daegu, South Korea. It is Canada’s best finish since 1983 when the men took silver in Edmonton.

It was a hard-fought battle, as Canada scrapped out a lead based on guts, sweat and sheer determination. According to Dinos and Canadian Head Coach Greg Ryan, the team won in true Canuck style.

"It was one of those grind-it-out affairs," said Ryan. "Both teams had been playing for a week, both teams were tired, and have been on the road for a long time. Our guys just gutted it out. It was a good old Canadian win."

The men came from behind to catch Germany in the first set, overpowering them at the net to take it 27-25. After faltering in the second, Canada dug their heels in and came back in the third, trading points with Germany until a string of strong serves and aggressive blocks sealed the set at 28-26.

According to Kendal, it was the work on the net that clinched it for Canada.

"We blocked them really well today," said Kendal. "We got a lot of touches which made the defense a lot easier."

The fourth set, dominated by Canada, concluded with one of the strongest attacks of the match, a quick middle slam by Kendal grabbing a 25-19 win.

Kendal also picked up a game high seven blocks and credits the team for working together in their last match.

"We just kind of stayed together," mused Kendal. "When things got down we just stuck together. It was one of our best team plays for sure."

Although he had hoped for a finish in the top four, Ryan is happy with the result.

"It’s a good result," Ryan said, laughing. "I feel like the head banger at the end of the concert. It’s good ’cause it’s over."

Ryan and Kendal head back to Calgary on Monday, and back to the Dinos’ season on Sept. 8.

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