BRITISH COLUMBIA

Canada advances to final against the U.S. at the NORCECA volleyball tournament

09/28/2013 02:01 EDT | Updated 11/27/2013 05:12 EST
LANGLEY, B.C. - Canada's men's volleyball team earned a spot in the gold medal match of the NORCECA Continental Championship with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-21) win over Cuba on Friday.

The Canadians, who are ranked No. 11 in the FIVB rankings, collected an impressive 16 blocks and from start to finish never allowed Cuba to find any sort of offensive rhythm.

Canada will play the U.S., which beat Puerto Rico in four sets, in the final. The winner earns a berth into the World Grand Champions Cup in Japan, Nov. 19-24.

Fan favourite Rudy Verhoeff led the Canadians with six blocks, six kills and two aces. Verhoeff got his team and the fans fired up early as he put together a four-block first set and after that, Canada maintained control the rest of the way.

Gord Perrin added 10 kills and four blocks while Dallas Soonias had a match-high 11 kills.

Canada opened a 10-7 lead in the first set and, from there, never trailed throughout the opening stanza. With seven blocks, Canada was able to pull away down the stretch, winning by 11 points.

The second set was much the same as Canada continued to crush the visitors' attack at the net, collecting another five blocks, and built a quick 12-8 lead before cruising to an eight-point win.

The third set saw Cuba hang around throughout, but even so, Canada had the upper hand for much of the set. After a Verhoeff block, Canada got a chance to serve for match point and, after the longest rally of the night, a kill from Perrin ended the set and match.

"Cuba is very young so we could exploit some of their tendencies," said coach Glen Hoag of the No. 5 ranked Cuban side that featured just four players beyond 20 years old. "They play a fairly basic game and, offensively, we knew what they were going to do."

Cuba will play Puerto Rico in the bronze medal match.