East St. Paul’s Jason DeRocco and his teammates on Canada’s men’s national volleyball team made history as the first Canadian team to win a medal in the FIVB World League.
Canada defeated the United States in the Group 1 bronze medal match in four sets 18-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21 at the FIVB World League Finals in Curitiba, Brazil July 8. It is the first time Canada won a medal in the prestigious annual international men’s volleyball competition. Their previous best finish was fifth in 2013 and this year’s edition was Canada’s first in Group 1.
DeRocco had one ace on four serve attempts in the contest, playing as a substitute in the second and fourth sets.
After finishing the round-robin portion of the tournament with a 5-4 record for fifth place, Canada’s top-six showing advanced them to the FIVB World League Finals in Brazil.
In their first match, Canada lost to the host Brazilians in four sets 25-21, 17-25, 25-19, 25-19, with DeRocco appearing in the fourth set July 4. Needing a win to advance to the semifinals, Canada downed Russia, who knocked out Canada in the quarterfinals of last year’s Olympics in Rio, in straight sets 25-23, 29-27, 25-17 July 5.
In the semifinals, Canada lost to eventual champion France 25-19, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, with DeRocco seeing game action in the first set July 7.
The bronze medal victory against the U.S. was Canada’s second win in the competition against their neighbours to the south.
Canada’s next major competition will be the 2017 Men’s NORCECA Volleyball Championship in Colorado Springs, Col. Sept. 26 to Oct. 1. The top five teams qualify for the 2018 FIVB World Men’s Volleyball Championships in Italy and Bulgaria.