Canadian men dig deep to beat U.S. 3-1 in Volleyball Nations League

OTTAWA — Canada's national men's volleyball team dug deep to beat the United States 3-1 in Volleyball Nations League action on Saturday.

Canada, which has already qualified for the Paris Olympics, beat the Americans 25-16, 19-25, 26-24 and 28-26 to win the best-of-five at TD Place.

Canada improves to 2-1 in the second round of VNL, beating Cuba 3-1 on Tuesday and dropping a 3-1 decision to Argentina on Thursday. Canada plays Serbia on Sunday.

Canada led Saturday's match in front of 7,000 spectators in attacks (56-49), service aces (8-5) and digs (64-57). Both teams had 29 unforced errors and the U.S. led in blocks (8-5).

Outside hitter Stephen Maar of Aurora, Ont., was Canada's top scorer with 24 points, while middle blocker Pearson Eshenko added 10.

Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke led the U.S. with 17 points.

“We feel great; we won,” said Canada’s coach Tuomas Sammelvuo. “We were serving and passing a lot better as opposed to the last game (against Argentina) and our block defence was very good against a very difficult team to control in attack.

" But now, for us the most important thing is to be mature. After this game we have another important match to prepare for (Sunday). Serbia is one of the world's top opponents so it will be a big test for us. Of course I’m really happy with the atmosphere tonight. The support from the fans was very good.”

Team captain Nick Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que., echoed his coach's sentiments.

“I think the difference today was serve and receive. ... We were able to put a lot of pressure on USA today. When they are in system, they are one of the best offensive teams in the world and we were able to keep them off net and work block defence," said Hoag.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2024.

The Canadian Press