Canada’s Backs to the Wall After Loss to Poland

Sam Schachter and Dan Dearing suffered a second close defeat at the World Championships today in a match against number two ranked Poland . The Canadians are now 0-2 in the most difficult pool in Rome. They have played the quality of volleyball that would have had them 2-0 in most other pools, but that is of little consolation at this point.

Michal Bryl & Bartosz Losiak are the second ranked team in Rome and for much of 2022 have been the hottest team in beach volleyball. The Poles suffered a loss yesterday against Christiaan Varenhorst & Steven van de Velde and were just as desperate as the Canadians for a win.

A game of millimeters

This one was literally 1 millimeter away from having a very different feel as Bartosz Losiak hit the smallest sliver of the back line for an ace with the score 20-19 in favor of Canada. Instead of jogging off the court up 1 set to 0, the first set went to overtime.

So close in set one

To get to that points, the Canadians again showed their unbelievable physicality. Just as Daniele Lupo took some heavy Canadian shelling at the back for Italy yesterday, Losiak had to deal with some missiles today. After trading side outs in the opening stages, Schachter served up an ace and then converted a defensive stop to build an 8-5 lead. Dearing showed his famous jumping ability on a point that resembled doubles tennis more than beach volleyball to maintain their lead 12-10. On that play, Losiak’s one handed stab came back over on one and it looked like it would drop over both Canadian’s heads as they were stuck at the net. In a play that few men could have made, Dan Dearing exploded out of the sand, reached up and shot it straight back into the open angle court.

Two of Poland’s great qualities that ended up being a huge factor started to show up late in the first set. First was Poland’s ability to move the point of attack in a way that created some very easy side outs. The second was Bryl’s phenomenal out of system setting that bailed out Poland every time it looked like Canada had the upper hand. Despite Poland playing at the highest level, Canada got another block through Dearing and extended their lead to 14-11.

Couldn’t close out the set

Losiak’s monster serve ate Schachter alive on two consecutive points to bring Poland back, but when Schachter won a crucial joust against Bryl, Canada was looking at two set points for the win up 20-18. The first was a routine side out for Bryl. The second was the aforementioned Losiak ace.

Sam Schachter wins big joust against Michael Bryl at the end of set 1. Photo by volleyball world.

In extra time Canada kept pace with Poland, but Dearing struggled with a Losiak serve that led to Bryl crushing an overpass and suddenly the control shifted. Michael Bryl got an ace down the line to end the set 23-25.

Canada shows character but can’t get over the line

I’ve seen many teams drop the second set 21-11 after a disappointment like that, but not Schachter and Dearing. Schachter took out a bit of frustration when he converted a transition kill with such ferocity, Losiak nearly lost his head. Still, Poland’s side out game just looked too easy. That being said, their service attention shifted to Schachter and he was up to the challenge again and again.

Luck seemed to be on Canada’s side as they picked up four aces in the second half of the set. Poland were scoring, too, though and it was Losiak that worked his magic on a few superb defensive plays. Late in the match when Canada ran out of aces, Poland played near perfect volleyball and the slightest of gaps that emerged were impossible for Dearing and Schachter to overcome.

Schacter receives a Poland serve as Dearing looks on in their match against Poland at the World Championships
Schachter receives a Poland serve as Dearing looks on in their match against Poland at the World Championships. Photo by Volleyball World.

The second set was set up for late heroics with Dearing serving at 19 – 20 against Poland’s match point. Instead it ended anticlimactically with Dearing a serve into the net. The serving woes that cost Canada so dearly yesterday were largely transformed into aces today, until they weren’t.

This is part of a series covering the Beach World Championships in Rome. If you would like to understand why the focus is on Canada, please check out this post. For a view of their first match against Italy read this.

Path forward for Canada

With one match to go on Monday against the Netherlands, Canada’s best possible finish in Pool B is one win and two losses. Obviously, the only thing that they need to think about is winning that match. But doing that may not guarantee the required third place finish. The Dutch team and the Italians play in a couple of hours. The winner will be 2-0, the loser along with Poland will be 1-1 and Canada sits at O-2. If the Netherlands lose to Italy tonight, then a win against the Netherlands will leave both teams at 1-2 and a tie breaker will be used. If the Netherlands win then the loser of the final Poland vs Italy match will also be 1-2.

The World Championships breaks ties between two teams by rally points ratio first and head to head matches second. Their two losses have been very close and being in a tie means they will have beaten the Dutch. Their two close losses put them in a good position to win many of the tie breakers, but they’ll probably have to beat Christiaan Varenhorst & Steven van de Velde by a large margin to feel safe. I’ll break that down tomorrow when we know the results of the Italy/Dutch match.

Dan Dearing & Sam Schachter’s World Championship Schedule
Date Stage Opponent Nationality Result
June 10th Pool B Daniele Lupo & Alex Ranghieri Italy Loss (22-20, 18-21, 12-15)
June 11th Pool B Michal Bryl & Bartosz Losiak Poland Loss (23-25, 19-21)
June 13th Pool B Christiaan Varenhorst & Steven van de Velde Netherlands