Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Upset spurs big jump for men's volleyball team

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The Canadian men's volleyball team moved up seven spots to 11th in the world rankings thanks to its exceptional performance in the 2013 FIVB World League.

Canada pulled off one of the biggest wins in its history by beating No. 2 Russia for the first time ever in a fiveset thriller on July 19.

In World League play, Canada won a record nine matches, finishing 9-3. Its previous best was six wins in 1992. After a 2-2 start to the 2013 campaign, Canada strung together seven straight wins before falling to Brazil in its final match, to finish fifth.

Canada also joins South Korea (2008) as the only team in the last 15 years to come back from two sets down to beat Russia in the World League.

"We showed we can play on the big stage in the world and beat great teams in the future," Saskatoon's Gavin Schmitt said in a news conference after their 3-0 loss to Brazil. Canada's previous best finish in the World League was seventh in 1992.

While Russia recovered from the loss to win this year's World League, the team is still ranked No. 2 in the world after Brazil, despite defeating Brazil in straight sets in the championship match.

Like Russia, the top five teams in the world did not see their world rankings change. Brazil remains No. 1, followed by Russia, Italy, Poland and the USA. Cuba, however, ties the USA at No. 5.

Serbia kept its ranking at No. 7, while Argentina swapped places with Bulgaria to advance to No. 8. Germany wrapped up the top 10.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 24, 2013 D2

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