On Thursday morning, if you were to take a quick glance at the Global Cup tournament brackets, it would have been easily apparent that Team Canada was a long way away from the medal’s stand. Knocked into the consolation bracket by Russia on the first day of bracket play, they were about as far away from the medal stands as they could get.
Canada’s day started off with a 9:00 a.m. match with Latvia, which they handled fairly easily, but that was only the beginning. At 10:30 a.m. they overcame a determined Brazilian team. By 3:00 p.m. they had dispatched U.S.A and a talented German team, placing them in the finals with, you guessed it, Russia.
Russia had waded through the brackets undefeated, leaving Canada with the nearly unbelievable task of having to beat them… twice. If they were to find themselves on the top stand, they would have to win the best of five series and then one more game to 25. And they did just that. They went three straight games with Russia to win the series. Then in a true nail-biter, went on to win the next game.
“This was an example of us, as coaches, asking this team to do some things they were not used to,” said Hugh Bartlett, Canada’s coach. “But they rose to the occasion, stuck to the game plan and pulled through.”
The elated team boisterously sang the Oh Canada from the top of the stand with gold medals around their necks and pride in their voices. This win makes back-to-back Global Cup victories for Canada. In 2008 the Canadian men’s team was the last team standing after an incredible bout with team USA.
Germany easily handled the American team for the Bronze Medal.
One of the many highlights of the evening was in between the medal matches when Venezuela, Latvia and Brazil each sang a song in their native language to the delight of the audience. Following Brazil’s singing, Cristina la Justicia, the Brazilian captain, invited all the Global Cup teams onto the floor for an impromptu dance that included a giant conga line that snaked all around the gym.
“For me, that was the best memory of the night,” said Mindy Case, Global Cup Director. “It was so fun to see all these teams interacting and dancing together.”
Next year the men’s teams will return for the fifth annual Global Cup, World Senior Volleyball Championship.