Canada loses opening match at men’s world junior volleyball championships

NITEROI, Brazil - Canada opened the men’s world junior volleyball championships on Monday losing 25-19, 25-19, 25-20 to Iran.

Canada was led by Nicholas Hoag of Sherbrooke with eight points on seven kills and one ace while Tristan Aubry of Edmonton and Tommy Bélisle of Quebec City added six each.

Errors played a big part in Canada’s loss as it committed 30 while Iran committed 22. The teams were close to even in successful attacks, with Iran leading 31-30. But Iran’s serving was powerful and it led in aces 6-1. Iran also led in blocking 8-5.

"It was our first time at a world championship,’’ said Canadian team captain T.J. Sanders of London, Ont. ‘’We were nervous. I don't think we came out with the passion of our previous matches before the tournament. They played very well. We lost the momentum and became very individual."

Using powerful hits and serves, Iran jumped out to an 8-3 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO) and extended the lead to nine at 15-6. Trailing 18-8, Canada scored four straight points behind the serving of Aubry to cut Iran’s lead to 18-12. Canada cut Iran’s lead to four at 20-16, but Iran pulled away to win the set 25-19.

 “Iran played a good match,’’ said Canada’s head coach Georges Laplante. ‘’They put us under pressure right away with their serving. We had problems running our defence and the players were a bit nervous in the beginning, but we hope we can keep improving in every match.’’

Iran took an 8-6 lead at the first TTO of the second set. Canada kept its head in the match and made some nice plays, but had 11 team errors in the set while Iran only had seven. 

Canada has competed in six previous World Junior Men’s Championships, including a best result of 5th in 1999.

On Tuesday Canada meets Belgium by 4 p.m.

Canada’s men’s national junior volleyball team sorted by province:

Alberta: Tristan Aubry, Edmonton; Jay Olmstead, Edmonton; Lucas VanBerkel, Edmonton; Branden Schmidt, Winton; Jarron Mueller, Calgary.

B.C.: Alex Davis, White Rock; Bradley Kufske, Abbotsford; Derek Thiessen, Coquitlam.

Manitoba: Brett Wiess, Winnipeg.

Ontario: Tyler (TJ) Sanders, London.

Quebec: Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke; Daniel Moreau, Sherbrooke; Tommy Bélisle, Quebec City.

Saskatchewan: Braden McLean, Birch Hills.

Head coach: Georges Laplante, Montreal

Assistant coaches: Greg Barthel, Regina and Brad Poplawski, Edmonton.

For more information: www.volleyball.ca and www.fivb.org