Calgary, Canada, May 16, 2015 - The wait is over and the best men’s volleyball players on the planet have taken to the court for the start of the FIVB World League 2015. On the opening night, Netherlands beat Portugal 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-20) in Matosinhos, Portugal, while Canada beat Cuba 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 26-24) in Calgary, Canada.
In the opening match of the 2015 World League, Netherlands fought back after losing the first set of their Pool E match against Portugal, with Dick Kooy leading all scorers with 14 points, ably supported by Jeroen Rauwerdink and Kay van Dijk who both added 11 in the 3-1 win.
In Calgary, Canada were guided by a typically powerhouse performance from Gavin Schmitt to dispatch Cuba in straight sets in their Pool C clash. Cuba lost Lazaro Raydel Fundora Travieso to a knee injury in the second set, but fought back in the third and had two set points, before Schmitt fired a kill down the line to give Canada a 26-24 third set and match win.
Canada’s Schmitt said he was thrilled they were able to get the win against a Cuba team he holds in high regard.
“I remember a couple of years ago, we’d get together at this point and it would take us weeks to iron things out. To be able to come out and play Cuba like this and get a win after so little training shows how far we’ve been able to come,” he said.
“We stayed pretty aggressive, we stayed patient and started to manage balls a lot better. They didn’t plays as well as I think they can and I think they’ll come out banging a little more tomorrow.”Key points
• Netherlands came from a set down to beat Portugal 3-1 in the opening match of the World League 2015.
• Dick Kooy top scored for Netherlands with 14 while Hugo Gaspar had 14 points for Portugal.
• Netherlands won 37 of their 98 points from opposition errors.
• Gavin Schmitt had a game-high 17 points for Canada against Cuba.
• Cuba’s Osmany Santiago Uriarte Mestre was the only other player to score in double figures (11 points).
• Graham Vigrass (CAN) and Felix Chapman Pineiro (CUB) picked up a game-high three blocks each.Top scoring performances
• 17 - Gavin Schmitt of Canada v Cuba (May 16)
• 14 - Hugo Gaspar of Portugal v Netherlands (May 16)
• 14 - Dick Kooy of Netherlands v Portugal (May 16)
• 13 - Alexandre Ferreira of Portugal v Netherlands (May 16)Top scoring performances by team
• 98 - Netherlands v Portugal (May 16)
• 86 - Portugal v Netherlands (May 16)$Top blocking performances
• 4 - Nimir Abdel-Aziz of Netherlands v Portugal (May 16)
• 3 - Joao Jose of Portugal v Netherlands (May 16)
• 3 - Felix Chapman Pineiro of Cuba v Canada (May 16)
• 3 - Graham Vigrass of Canada v Cuba (May 16)Top blocking performances by team
• 12 - Netherlands v Portgual (May 16)
• 10 - Cuba v Canada (May 16)Top serving performances
• 3 - Jeroen Rauwerdink of Netherlands v Portugal (May 16)
• 3 - Andre Reis Lopes of Portugal v Netherlands (May 16)Top serving performances by team
• 9 - Portugal v Netherlands (May 16)Highest scorer by round
• Day 1: 17 - Gavin Schmitt of Canada v Cuba (May 16)Highest set score
• Day 1: Canada v Cuba, 26-24 (May 16)Highest scoring matches
• Day 1: Netherlands v Portugal (May 16) (23-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-20) - 184