Trinity Western University’s male rookie of the year, Langley’s Brodie Hofer, and incoming TWU star recruit Mathias Elser of Calgary played for Canada at the U21 Pan Am Cup in Lima, Peru, making it all the way to the final game to take silver.
Hofer and Xander Ketrzynski led Canada’s offense during the semifinal lead-up to the gold medal game, scoring 13 points each as Canada beat Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-15) on Friday night.
They went on to face Cuba Saturday in the final of the fourth edition of the U21 cup, the last qualifying event for the U21 World Championship, with the Cubans winning gold (25-19 25-22 29-27).
Cuba held a slight advantage in attack (35-32) and blocking (6-5), but the Canadians outscored Cuba in services (11-8). The winners registered 20 unforced errors and 30 for the losing side.
“We knew Cuba from when we played them last year, and the teams we had played up to this point of this tournament had not been as big as Cuba. The first set was a bit tight,” coach Adam Simac said. “In the second and third set we had many opportunities, maybe we were a little nervous, but each one of the guys put on a fight.”
Canada’s Xander Ketrzynski also won best opposite and best server awards, while Canada’s libero Landon Currie received “best digger” recognition.
Both teams will play in this year’s World Championship. Cuba has accumulated three silver and two bronze medals at the U21 World Championship so far; and in the last edition held in 2017 in the Czech Republic, they finished in second place after falling to Poland in straight sets in the final. Canada does not have medals in the U21 World Championship and in this 2019 will seek to improve on its eighth place from the Czech Republic in 2017.
The U21 World Championships will be held in Bahrain, July 17 to 27, 2019.
Puerto Rico won the bronze medal playing against Chile.
Hofer, a 6’6” outside hitter was named TWU rookie of the year earlier this month.
He joined TWU after coming off an 2017-18 campaign in which he capped his high school career at Langley Christian with a second-straight provincial title while also being named MVP for the second year in a row.
With his Fraser Valley Volleyball Club, Hofer was also named an all-star at both the provincial and national championships, while leading his team to a silver medal provincially and a bronze medal nationally.
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