Canada won its final match of the Hubert Jerzy Wagner Memorial Tournament in Poland on Sunday.
Canada swept France 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-22) – a team that the North Americans have not beaten in recent history.
“I really like how we played. We played aggressive and very smart,” said Canada’s coach Stephane Antiga, a former player of the French National Team. “We only had one victory (out of three matches) here, but there was a high level of volleyball. We will keep working hard and try to keep improving.”
France was playing without star Earvin Ngapeth, who was MVP of the 2017 World League finals, but did play opposite Stéphen Boyer and others, who had caused Canada to struggle during 2017 World League pool play. France went on to win the World League finals with a dramatic five-set win over Brazil.
France had won its two previous matches – against Russia and host Poland – in this tournament.
Canada was missing some key players for various reasons, but looked confident and organized against the French team today.
“France is always a difficult team to play against, and we can’t really remember the last time that Canada beat France,” said setter TJ Sanders, during the post-match press conference. “We bounced back after two losses (to world ranked number 3 Poland and number 4 Russia) – our reception got much better and we had a lot of fun out there and I think it showed. I’m happy with this result.”
Nicholas Hoag was the match top scorer with 20 points. Barthélémy Chinenyeze had 11 points for the losing side.
France is gearing up for the European Championships, which begin on Aug. 24 in Poland. Canada is preparing for the NORCECA Continental Championship, which takes place in Colorado in late September.
The final match of the prestigious friendly tournament features Poland versus Russia today.
- Aug. 11 Canada vs Russia 1-3 (23-25, 27-29, 25-22, 17-25)
- Aug. 12 Poland vs Canada 3-0 (36-34, 25-20, 26-24)
- Aug. 13 Canada vs France 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-22)
The Wagner Memorial Tournament began in 2003, and is held in the memory of longtime Polish coach Hubert Jerzy Wagner, who won the 1974 FIVB Men’s World Championship, the Olympic gold in 1976 and silver medals at the European Championships in 1975 and 1983. Canada last played in this invitational tournament in 2006.
The 2017 Canadian squad featured 12 players who won the bronze medal at this year’s World League Group 1 finals. Canada recently gained two spots in the world ranking, up to sixth from eighth after the team’s impressive World League performance.