Canada clinches first in Pool B in men’s volleyball

SHENZHEN, China (CIS) – Canada’s men’s volleyball team continued to roll on Wednesday night at the 26th Summer Universiade, finishing Group A competition with a perfect 4-0 record after downing Australia 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-20).


Canada has completely dominated their group opponents, also beating Switzerland, China and Norway, while only dropping one set over four games under the guise of University of Winnipeg head coach Larry McKay. 

A quarter-final matchup with South Korea awaits the Canadians on Friday at 3 p.m. local time (3 a.m. ET). It marks the third Universiade in a row that the Canucks have reached the final eight. 

“The first set was a back-and-forth affair, and we saw that our opponent’s energy dipped after,” said McKay. “Everyone on our team had the opportunity to play tonight, which is good for the guys going forward.”

Team captain and Calgary native Rudy Verhoeff (in photo) was dominant at the net for the Canadians, leading the way with eight kills and four blocks. Fellow Calgarian Graham Vigrass, the reigning Canadian Interuniversity Sport player of the year, chimed in with three aces. 

“We have to be prepared to face South Korea and we have to execute,” added McKay. “[South Korea] has a relatively big and disciplined team, and they have some of the best hitters in the tournament.”

Canada’s has twice won a silver medal in men’s volleyball at the Universiade, finishing second in Edmonton in 1983 and Thailand in 2007.

Double-elimination second round: Canada 1 (Caleigh Whitaker, Sharon, Ont., and Kristina Valjas, Toronto, Ont.) defeats Mexico by 2-0 (21-19, 21-19); loses to Thailand by 2-0 (21-17, 21-17); eliminated.
Double-elimination second round: Canada 2 (Kristina Vlcek, Toronto, Ont., and Becky Billings, Ottawa, Ont.) loses to Czech Republic by 2-1 (21-23, 21-16, 21-10); eliminated.