World-class teams set for Games volleyball

Seven of the world’s top 15 volleyball powerhouse countries will compete in Toronto this summer in the 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games.

The men’s competition will be intense with Brazil, the top-ranked team in the world and defending Pan Am champion, leading the way. The U.S., ranked fifth in the world, will be out to challenge Brazil, as will Argentina, currently ranked sixth, and Cuba, silver medallists at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games.

Canada, ranked 14th, had its best season ever on the world stage last year, finishing seventh at the World Championship.

“We’ve played the teams we will face in the preliminary round many times before, so there are definitely rivalries and respect among the teams,” said Glenn Hoag, head coach and former player for the Canadian men’s national team.

“I’m sure fans will be excited to watch Canada play the U.S. but all the matches will demonstrate a high level of play.”

Other teams competing in this summer’s men’s indoor volleyball tournament include Mexico, Puerto Rico and Colombia.

The powerhouse women’s team from the U.S. is the number-one ranked country in the world in indoor volleyball and will face top countries Brazil and Dominican Republic. Brazil is the second-ranked country in the world and defending Pan Am champions, while Dominican Republic is sixth in the world.

Other competing countries include Canada, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Peru.

The Canadian women’s team sits 16th in the world and is hoping for big results in July.

“Our team is very excited now that we’ve seen the schedule. The Pan Am Games are an amazing opportunity for our athletes to showcase volleyball in a multi-sport environment on home soil,” said Arnd Ludwig, head coach of the Canadian women’s national team.

The Canada men’s volleyball schedule begins July 17 versus Mexico while the Canada women’s schedule begins July 16 versus the Dominican Republic. The men’s gold medal match is July 26 and the women’s gold medal match is July 25.

The volleyball tournament will be held at Exhibition Centre, Canada’s largest multi-purpose convention facility, which will house several other Pan Am competitions. Exhibition Centre is inside CIBC Pan Am Park on Toronto’s waterfront.

The indoor volleyball schedule for the men’s and women’s tournament is available at TORONTO2015.org/tickets.