TEPIC, Nayarit, Mexico, July 12, 2022.- Canada beat the Mexico 3-1 (33-31, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21) in their second tournament victory at the Men’s NORCECA Final Six Pan American Cup on Tuesday at the Amado Nervo Auditorium of Tepic, Nayarit.
Canada improved their record 2-0 leading their win over Mexico with a 58-42 margin in kills and a one-point margin (7-6) in aces. Mexico held a slim 7-6 in blocks to drop to an 0-2 record. Canada committed 41 unforced errors and the host a total of 34.
The first set was a party of points with both teams losing several set points to a thrilling 33-31 finish for Canada. In the third set, outside hitter Jesse Elser of Canada, suffered an ankle injury as he fell defending over the net.
Outside hitter Brandon Koppers led Canada’s scorers with 19 points on 15 kills, 3 blocks and one ace, followed by opposite hitter Jordan Canham with 13 points and outside hitter Logan House with 13 points all on kills.
Two Mexican players scored double-figures; opposite player Diego Gonzalez with 18 points on 14 kills, 3 blocks and one ace, and middle blocker Axel Tellez scoring 11 points on 5 kills, 3 blocks and 3 aces.
Canada (2-0) and Cuba (2-0) will meet on Wednesday, and Mexico (0-2) goes up against Dominican Republic (0-2).
Brandon Koppers, Top scorer of Canada: “Mexico played a lot of great defenses, a lot of big points and big rallies, so a lot was about managing the momentum and how loud the fans were and just trying to play our game. We are going to play our best every single night and our goal is to win as many matches as we can, that’s our goal and hopefully will go home with the gold medal. For tomorrow’s match, we are going to watch a lot of videos of Cuba, the have really great spikes, serves and blocks; so, the key is to make them play our game, we play a little more block-defense than they do, we need to transition and try to put them out of system and hold our hard serves”.
Dan Ota, Head Coach of Canada: “Mexico gave us all we could handle, they played very hard and a very difficult opponent. We won a difficult first set, lost the second and when Jesse Elser got injured our team rallied around and wanted to win for him, I am proud of how the responded in this difficult situation and also handled the fans that were very loud. Our next opponent, Cuba, is a really good team and my players know them well from watching them play when they were younger; to have a chance to play such a quality team like Cuba is a great opportunity for us, hopefully we’ll be able to put our best effort”.
Jorge Azair, Head Coach of Mexico: “It’s difficult to take in the loss. We had some good moments, but we are still lacking to close in important moments. Our counterattack and defense are in trouble; the guys get nervous in moments they should be able to score because we are defending well, but they will improve with more consecutive matches like this one. We aren’t happy and we could have pressured more. The qualification is still in our hands, and we must come out strong tomorrow, we will work hard, the level of play with Dominican Republic is similar, but we are coming from five sets yesterday and four today. We will watch some videos to determine how we’re going to play tactically speaking”.