Ottawa, Canada, June 9, 2018 - Simon Hirsch led the way for Germany as they withstood a dramatic Canadian comeback to continue their VNL resurgence with a 3-1 win (25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 25-19).
The Germans, who were riding a wave of confidence having dispatched the USA brilliantly on Friday night, continued their rich vein of form with a powerhouse display to disappoint a vibrant Ottawa crowd who came to cheer on their heroes but left disappointed despite a courageous attempt to wipe out a terrible start which saw them lose the first two sets.
Hirsch was a constant menace, bagging 16 spikes and an ace and together with solid shows from Christian Fromm (10 points) and David Sossenheimer (12 points), Andrea Giani’s side head into tomorrow’s clash with Australia aiming for a clean sweep of wins in week three to keep their hopes of reaching the finals very much alive.
It’s not as if Canada were shorn of confidence - the previous night’s triumph over Australia was the first time they’ve notched four successive wins at world level since the 2015/16 season.
Yet there were simply too many errors - 25 in all - from the home team and although Stephane Antiga’s men battled valiantly when all looked lost, the in-form Germans held firm to record another deserved win.
Stephen Marr (17 spikes and one block) once again scored consistently while Bradley Gunter (12 points) and Nicholas Hoag (11 points) also chipped in yet giving their opponents a two set lead was too much to claw back for the Canadians who now go into tomorrow’s North American derby tussle with the US needing a win to keep their hopes of reaching the VNL finals on course.
Germany started like a train and even though the scores were locked at 22-22 in the first, the Europeans seemed to possess more power on the court.
A disappointing 10 errors from Canada didn’t help their own cause but with Fromm, Reichert and Hirsch combining for 14 points, the opening battle was won by Giani’s fighters.
The TD Place crowd were stunned - and it wasn’t long before their agony deepened. Marr was doing his inspirational best to pull his side back into it but the Germans were working together superbly and, even when the scores were pulled back from 14-9 to 20-19, Canada once again fluffed their lines.
Marr served long bring up set point and although the first was saved, Moritz Karlitzek served an ace to put his team 2-0 up.
Germany were on easy street but perhaps they took their eyes off the ball in the third because the Canadians came roaring back. At 16-9 down all looked lost but Gunter’s serve helped them stay firmly in the game while their opponents simply fell apart.
It was incredibly close yet again in the third but with the home crowd roaring Canada on, Germany struggled terribly when receiving serve and that allowed Marr and co to storm ahead and make this match, which looked dead and buried, very interesting indeed.
An early lead was established in the fourth and Ottawa started believing but this time there were no miracles as Germany held firm.