Tokyo, Japan, June 4, 2016 – Canada trounced Japan 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-19) to maintain their chance to get the final ticket at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday.
Canada’s John Gordon Perrin and Gavin Schmitt teamed-up on offence and topped all scorers with 22 and 18 points, respectively. Justin Duff also helped on the Canadian offence with eight attacks and on defence with three of the team’s nine total blocks. Japan’s Kunihiro Shimizu scored 14 points, while Takashi Dekita, who played well in the middle, scored 12 points.
Japan opened the first set with a 5-3 lead but later on Justin Duff levelled the score at 7-all. Japan relied on the offence of Shimizu and Dekita, while Canada banked on Perrin and Schmitt. The Japanese hitters fared better than the Canadians as they ran better plays towards the end of the set 25-23. Perrin and Schmitt had hotter hands and scorched the Japanese defence in the second set. Canada held a slim lead at the second technical timeout but Perrin and Schmitt delivered the points to mount a bigger lead at 20-15. Duff sealed the set victory for Canada 25-19.
Japan utilised their middle blocker Dekita to earn points, while Canada focused their offence from the left flank headed by Perrin in the third set. Canada gained a 20-17 advantage as their block toughened up on the Japanese attackers. Duff provided great hits from the middle that got them closer to ending the set at 24-21, until Schmitt’s spike was blocked out 25-21. Canada led at the start of the fourth set but Tatsuya Fukuzawa scored two consecutive points to tie the score at 6-all. Canada took the lead back 11-8 with two excellent hits from Graham Vigrass. Shimizu botched a serve to give Canada a 20-16 margin. The visiting side did an excellent job to deny Japan of any last minute surge and a Vigrass spike delivered the match winner at 25-19.