The Canadian men’s volleyball team knew it needed a three-set victory to remain in the race for the quarter-finals, and it did not disappoint.
Canada won Friday’s match against Venezuela in convincing fashion, 25-13, 25-22 and 25-12 to grab three all-important points and improve its record to 2-2 in preliminary play.
“It was good, even if the guys were a little anxious, knowing they absolutely had to win 3-0. You often want to do a little more at those times,” coach Glenn Hoag said.
With the win, Canada joined fellow Pool A teams Poland, Japan, Iran and Italy with two wins apiece. Canada has seven points, which as of the end of the match, was tied with Poland and ahead of Japan (six) and Iran and Italy (five). Venezuela has lost all four of its matches.
Canada benefited from inspiring play from Stephen Maar, who scored eight points in the first set while replacing captain John Perrin.
Venezuela tried to come back in the second, but never managed more than a two-point lead and eventually fell behind after a strong surge led by Quebec’s Nicholas Hoag, who finished with a total of 16 points.
The tough ending of the set appeared to exhaust Venezuela, who looked flat in the third. Maar capped off his 15-point game with a winning serve.
Canada will take on Poland on Sunday to close out group play.
Maar said winning that game will be of utmost importance if Canada wants to move on.
“Coming off two wins is pretty nice for us,” he said. “So I think we’re going in with a lot of confidence and a lot of energy.”
Because of how points are calculated, there are several scenarios that could lead Canada to the quarter-finals, but Hoag prefers the simplest path.
“I prefer not to calculate and to go directly by winning,” he said.
He said Poland is a good club with a chance at a medal, but he believes Canada can beat them.
In other Pool A play on Friday, Poland was taking on Japan and Italy faced off against Iran.
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