Schmitt powers Canada to opening win against Cuba


Cuba's Osmany Santiago Uriarte Mestre spikes against a three-man Canada block.

Calgary, Canada, May 16, 2015 - A typically powerhouse performance from Gavin Schmitt has guided Canada to a straight-sets win against Cuba in the opening match of their FIVB World League 2015 campaign. Schmitt scored a game-high 17 points and fittingly earned the final kill of the match to help Canada win the Pool C match 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 26-24).

After a 14th-placed finish in the 2014 World League, Canada started 2015 brightly, racing out to a 6-1 lead in the opening set. Cuba levelled at 12-12 but Canada again pulled away, with Schmitt picking up four successful attacks and an ace in the 25-20 first-set win. Cuba's Lazaro Raydel Fundora Travieso was also impressive with four attacks of his own and a block.

The visitors responded in the second set and worked their way to a 6-3 advantage. Canada regained the ascendancy after the technical timeout, going on a 4-1 run to lead 10-9. Then Cuba suffered a scary moment with Fundora landing awkwardly on his left leg, injuring his knee and needing to be carried from the floor. The incident seemingly took the wind out of Cuba's sails and Canada wrapped up the second 25-19.

The third set involved more dominance from Schmitt, with the 208cm opposite equally as impressive on attack as on the block. Cuba though weren't to be intimidated and took a 23-21 lead, but they couldn't capitalise on two set points and extend the match beyond three sets. Schmitt fittingly nailing a kill down the line for the final point of the evening as Canada took the set 26-24 and the match 3-0.

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