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Canada falls to home crowd favourites in Poland

Krakow, Poland, May 27, 2018 – Poland thrilled its home fans with a 3-1 (25-21, 26-24, 21-25, 25-17) victory over Canada today in 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League action at the Tauron Arena in Krakow.
 
Although Canada’s men’s team managed a win over Poland last week in an international friendly series, they have yet to beat the number-three world ranked Polish team in 12 FIVB outings. Poland went undefeated in this first weekend of Volleyball Nations League at home; Canada beat Korea yesterday, but fell to Russia on Friday.
 
"Today, we played a better game than we did against Russia, winning one set," said Canada’s head coach Stephane Antiga.  "I have some regrets with the second set – I felt we could have won that set and forced the tie-break, but it was a good experience for us in front of many fans and with Poland, which is a very good team.  With only one victory this weekend, we have to keep working hard and try to win matches next weekend.”
                                           
Today, Stephen Maar was the most productive scoring player on the Canadian side of the net, with 12 points, all in offence.
 
Canada did manage to put on a defensive show early on with a couple of impressive blocks by Graham Vigrass to give Canada a 4-1 lead in the first.  But fan support and Canadian errors helped the Polish team to get back on top. Despite an attempted comeback for Canada, which started with a 120 km/h back-row hit by Nicholas Hoag, the home side managed to retain a four-point advantage through to the end of the set.
 
The second set was a thriller, with occasional break points for one side or the other. The first one came with a blasting ace by Jakub Kochanowski (who contributed 15 points, including three aces) for 3-2. So did the last one for the 26-24 Polish win.
 
An ace by Ryan Sclater provided an early 5-1 lead for Canada in the third set. With Nicholas Hoag, delivering a couple of spectacular pipe shots among other plays, Canada extended it to 10-5. A nicely played 32-second rally finished in a banal manner – with a net touch – but it was another point to Canada for 11-5. Setter TJ Sanders kept Poland at bay until Vigrass closed the set at 25-21 with a monster block.
 
In the fourth set, it was again Sclater who helped Canada to an early lead of 4-1 with a 103.2 km/h spike, but this time the Polish team answered in a timely manner and, except for a bit of a comeback for Canada mid-set, the Europeans controlled the play to win the set and match.
 
Next weekend, Poland will again play at home, entertaining China, France and Germany in Lodz, while Canada will travel to San Juan to face Iran, Italy and hosts Argentina.
 
Canada hosts Volleyball Nations League in week three (June 8 to 10) in Ottawa, Ontario.
 

Canada’s roster this week:
1 - TJ Sanders, London, ON (setter)
3 - Steve Marshall, Abbotsford, BC (outside hitter)
4 - Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC (outside hitter)
5 - Lucas Van Berkel, Edmonton, AB (middle blocker)
7 - Stephen Maar, Aurora, ON (outside hitter)
9 - Jason DeRocco, Winnipeg, MB (outside hitter)
11 - Daniel Jansen Vandoorn, Langley, BC (middle blocker)
15 - Bryan Duquette, St. Thomas, ON (libero)
16 - Ryan Sclater, Port Coquitlam, BC  (opposite)
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)
21 - Brett Walsh, Calgary, AB (setter)
 
Head coach: Stephane Antiga
Assistant coach: Dan Lewis 
Therapist: Melissa Healy
Statistician: Lionel Bonnaure
Team manager:Julien Boucher 
 
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 

Photo and match reports: FIVB
 
Volleyball Canada
Jackie Skender
Director, Communications
613.794.7676
jskender@volleyball.ca