Canada falls to Olympic champions in Ottawa

Team Canada took on the Olympic champions, Team France, in their second match of the 2022 Volleyball Nations League (VNL), with France winning 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-21) at the Arena at TD Place.

Canada fought hard, kept the game tight and went back and forth throughout the game. In the end, they got their second loss of the week, with France leading 3-0.

“It was a better game than Tuesday, I think our nerves settled,” said team captain Nicholas Hoag. “Today there was probably a little less pressure because we were playing against a team that should beat us on paper. But we saw progress today, we played a lot better and I think we could have beaten those guys if we could have reduced our mistakes a bit more and made some better moves. We just have to keep working. This is a young group, we hadn’t all played together, so it’s getting better.”

Hoag goes on to touch on what Team Canada has to do for the rest of this weekend in Ottawa: “We have to watch the video, we’re going to prepare and we have to fight like we did tonight. The audience was great, that helped a lot. We’ll get back to it and we’ll fight. We are at home, it’s great to play in these people. If we keep playing better and better and clean up our mistakes, we’re going to win at some point.”

Stephen Maar again led the way for Canada with 12 points, while Pearce Eshenko followed with eight.

The first two games of the day gave fans all the volleyball action they could hope for, with both games going to five sets. Serbia won their second match against VNL, beating Argentina 3-2 (25-16, 25-18, 17-25, 12-25, 15-6). Germany also won their second game of the week, also beating Bulgaria 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 25-16, 20-25, 15-10).

Tomorrow, the winners of today’s first two games, Serbia and Germany, will face off at 1:00 PM ET. Both teams are at 2-1 going into their last game in Ottawa. At 4 p.m. ET, Bulgaria and Poland will take to the field as Bulgaria is looking for their first win of the week, with Poland even going 1-1. Team Canada closes out the day against Italy, also 1-1, at 7pm ET.

Timetable (week 1)
Jay Blankenau, Sherwood Park, AB
Brett Walsh, Calgary, AB
Ryan Sclater, Port Coquitlam, BC
Brodie Hofer, Langley, BC
Stephen Maar, Aurora, ON
Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC (Captain)
Ryley Barnes, Edmonton, ABI
Mathias Elser, Calgary, AB
Justin Lui, Pickering, ON
Lucas Van Berkel, Edmonton, AB
Pearce Eshenko, Banff, ABI
Jackson Howe, Calgary, AB
Marc Wilson, Stratford, ON
Jesse Elser, Calgary, AB

Staff (week 1)
Head Coach: Ben Josephson
Assistant Coach: Joe Trinsey
Assistant coach: Stefan Hübner
Sports physiotherapist: Jovana Smoljanic
Strength and Conditioning: Michael Cook
Statistician: David Dantes
Team Manager: Julien Boucher