Volleyball Canada’s men’s team ended the first weekend of FIVB World League action with three wins in as many days after dispatching Czech Republic 3-1 (25-16, 25-23, 24-26, 26-24) on Sunday.
The victory against the host nation in Ceske Budejovice came after wins over China and Egypt since Friday (more on this below), and gives Canada a unbeaten start to World League this season.
“This is the first time we have started the World League with three wins on the road,” captain Fred Winters said after Sunday’s victory. “We got little bit tired in third set. After that (Jay) Blankenau came on and saved us from the service line. It was nice to see, because he didn’t play this weekend and he did his job.”
Winters led the team with 19 points as Canada returns home tied for first with Turkey in Group 2 of World League.
The only Canadian stop in this curtailed (due to the Olympic Games) World League season sees Canada come home to face China, Portugal and South Korea next weekend in Saskatoon.
The following weekend Canada travels to Finland to take on that team, Portugal once more and regional rival Cuba in a match between two Olympic-bound teams.
Once the Finland leg ends, the top three ranked teams will head to Portugal to play in the final round, which could lead to promotion to Group 1 next season if certain FIVB conditions for eligibility are met.
Canada 3-0 Egypt
Canada is up to two wins from as many matches at the opening weekend of FIVB Men’s Volleyball World League, after beating Egypt 3-0 (25-23, 25 -19, 25-16).
Following a straight sets victory over China on Friday (more on this below), Canada improved on its perfect record to start the 2016 World League in Group 2 and leads the standings with maximum points.
Toontje Van Lankvelt and Steven Marshall led the Canadian effort with 12 points each against Egypt.
The first pool of matches this season end on Sunday when Canada takes on the host Czech Republic.
Next weekend, World League continues in Saskatoon with Olympic-bound Canada hosting South Korea, China and Portugal.
Canada 3-0 China
With a straight sets win (25-18, 25-22, 25-21) over China, Team Canada had a successful start at FIVB Men’s Volleyball World League.
After defeating the Asian team earlier this month at the Olympic qualification tournament and take the final Rio 2016 spot, the Canadian squad secured another win over China in the first match of the Intercontinental Round.
This was the first clash ever between Canada and China in the men’s World League. A rematch is scheduled for next weekend in Saskatoon.
With a strong serve and leading of the match from the beginning, Canada easily took the first set 25-18. The second set was tighter, but the Canadian squad showed its superiority in the game and took it 25-22. Despite losing 2-0, China didn’t make the last set easy for Canada, coming as close as 18-17. But Canada kept the lead and won the match 25-21.
With the win, Canada is ranked first in its pool, with three points, followed by Egypt (two), Czech Republic (one) and China (none).
Canada will face Egypt on Saturday and then take on host Czech Republic on Sunday. After that, the Intercontinental Round will continue in Saskatoon between June 24-26, at SaskTel Centre.
Here are the dates and times of Canada’s next Intercontinental Round matches: