Canada's men's volleyball team stuns Brazil 3-0, advances to VNL quarterfinals

MANILA — The Canadian men's volleyball team is on an impressive roll as the Paris Olympics approach.

Eric Loeppky had a match-high 21 points as Canada qualified for the Volleyball Nations League quarterfinals by stunning Brazil 3-0 on Friday. Canada had not advanced out of the preliminary round in five previous VNL appearances.

Canada, which has climbed three spots to ninth in the latest FIVB world rankings, posted set scores of 26-24, 25-19 and 26-24 as it beat sixth-ranked Brazil for the first time in VNL action and improved to 7-4 at the tournament.

The win moved Canada into fourth place in the tournament standings, with the top eight qualifying for the quarterfinals in Lodz, Poland.

“Big, great win today," Canada head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo said. "I’m happy about the consistency that we are showing and today it was a difficult game.

"There was a lot of pressure from the service line and we managed to handle that well. We attacked with very few mistakes and then in important moments, we made some very good decisions on attack."

Stephen Maar had 12 points and Arthur Szwarc added 11 for Canada, which led Brazil 46-37 in attack points and dominated 5-1 in blocks.

Darlan Souza had a team-high 12 points for Brazil. The 2016 Olympic gold medallists and 2021 VNL champions dropped to seventh heading into a final preliminary-round game against world No. 4 Japan.

Canada will finish off preliminary-round play with a match Saturday against the Netherlands. The Canadians are on a three-match winning streak after beating Japan 3-2 and blanking Germany 3-0 earlier this week.

Canada had already qualified for this summer's Olympics by finishing second in its pool at a qualification tournament last year.

The men's Olympic volleyball tournament runs from July 27 to Aug. 10 at the South Paris Arena. Canada advanced to the quarterfinals at the last two Games.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press