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Canada battles France to a five-set heartbreaking loss

Varna, Bulgaria, June 17, 2018 – Canada’s Nick Hoag’s match-high 23 points weren’t enough today, in a hard-fought five setter against France in Volleyball Nations League action. France’s Jean Patry (20 points) and Julien Lyneel (15 points) led the attack in the 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 24-26, 16-14) win for “les bleus.”  
 
Canada still sits in the middle of the VNL standings so far with six wins and six losses; France has only lost two of its 12 VNL matches so far, with only one weekend to go in the round robin play. Only six countries will play in the finals – France, as host of the finals in Lille in July, is guaranteed a spot.
 
After a loss to Bulgaria yesterday, Canada’s coach Stephane Antiga – a former French team star – switched up his line-up today, but despite leveling the match twice and forcing the tie-break set, Canada failed to take advantage of an early three-point advantage in the fifth, allowing France to extend its winning streak to six.
 
Canada’s Ryley Barnes, Brad Gunter, Arthur Szwarc and returning Olympian Justin Duff all had solid offensive performances today in the effort to topple the skilled French team.
 
“We came out with nothing to lose and took them by surprise a little bit, we showed a lot of fight and battle,” said Gunter (source www.fivb.com) “Even in the sets we lost, we fought for every point and that was an important part for us. We had to make some points here if we want to make it to the Final Six (in Lille), we are just going to take it one game at a time and try to do the best we can.”


Roster 

1 - TJ Sanders, London, ON (setter)
4 - Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC (outside hitter)
5 - Lucas Van Berkel, Edmonton, AB (middle blocker)
6 - Justin Duff, Winnipeg, MB (middle blocker)
7 - Stephen Maar, Aurora, ON (outside hitter)
8 - Jay Blankenau, Sherwood Park, AB (setter)
9 - Jason DeRocco, Winnipeg, MB (outside hitter)
12 - Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon, SK (opposite)
13 - Ryley Barnes, Edmonton, AB (outside hitter)
15 - Bryan Duquette, St. Thomas, ON (libero)
17 - Graham Vigrass, Calgary, AB (middle blocker)
18 - Bradley Gunter, Comox, BC (opposite)
19 - Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB (libero)
20 - Arthur Szwarc, Toronto, ON (middle blocker)

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About Volleyball Nations League
In both the men's and women's leagues, the 16 teams in each gender will compete first in round robin format. With a total of 260 matches played in the tournament, each team will play a minimum of 15 matches and each core nation will host at least one pool. There will be one combined standings table across all pools for each gender. In the men's and women's competition, the top five teams of the standings will join the hosts for the finals.  #VNL
 
Volleyball Canada
Jackie Skender
Director, Communications
613.794.7676
jskender@volleyball.ca

Photo: FIVB