Canada's men's team denies Bulgaria comeback, secures 1st win in Volleyball Nations League

·2 min read
The Canadian men's indoor volleyball team secured its first win at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League with a 3-2 victory over Bulgaria on Sunday at TD Place in Ottawa. (Volleyball World  - image credit)
The Canadian men's indoor volleyball team secured its first win at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League with a 3-2 victory over Bulgaria on Sunday at TD Place in Ottawa. (Volleyball World - image credit)

The Canadian men's indoor volleyball team secured its first win at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL).

Canada, which dropped its first three matches of the competition, defeated Bulgaria 3-2 (25-18, 25-18, 24-26, 21-25, 15-11) on Sunday at TD Place in Ottawa.

Stephen Maar led Canada (1-3) with 25 points. Ryan Sclater added 17 and captain Nicholas Hoag scored 14, all coming in attack.

"I'm just so incredibly proud of those athletes," said Canada's head coach Ben Josephson, who secured his first VNL win behind the bench. "We had talked a lot about identity is a choice and as a team we're continuing to work through that but also it's important to impose your personality on the match and not just try to do the right things. Again, I've been so proud of them that they've engaged our learning so much and tonight we actually saw their personality show.

"The best part of the national team is that you've got all these players from across the country, all different ages, all different backgrounds, united under one flag. I thought the guys expressed themselves in their own unique ways and that blend let them play well and they were up to the task. I'm super proud of [Nicholas] Hoag to get his first win as team captain."

Aleksandar Nikolov scored 17 to lead Bulgaria (0-4).

WATCH | Canada defeats Bulgaria in 5 sets:

Prior to Sunday, Canada suffered defeats to Italy, Germany and Tokyo 2020 gold medallists France.

Currently ranked No. 12 in the world, the Canadian squad will play Australia, Poland, Serbia and Iran from June 21 to June 25 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The matches will be streamed live on CBC.ca, CBC Gem and the CBC Sports app.

"I think it's going to take a lot of time," said Josephson. "Every day we're talking about how much further to get where we're headed and today we got closer. You're not bad because you're losing, you're not good because you're winning. What I loved is we found a lesson that you don't learn a lot from losing but you get all these lessons exposed. And when you start winning and being successful then you start tacking these lessons to the wall and I felt like that happened today for us.

"We learned how to be us in a competitive match. And things weren't going well for us for part of that match but they stayed consistent with who they were and I think that's just an amazing lesson considering how much of this program we shook up to get settled a bit."

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