Canada’s men’s team faces host Poland at Wagner Memorial

Canada battles host at Wagner Memorial Tournament in Poland

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Poland defeated Canada 3-0 (36-34, 25-20, 26-24) today at the Hubert Jerzy Wagner Memorial Tournament at the Tauron Arena in Kraków.

“We played well – we were very close. I think it was a better game than yesterday (in a 3-1 loss to Russia). We have a few players who are unable to play – (Jason) DeRocco is sick, (Ryley) Barnes has some issues and of course (Graham) Vigrass is out with an injury (which he incurred yesterday).” said Canada’s coach Stephane Antiga.

Antiga brought in younger players including Arthur Szwarc, Bradley Gunter, and Lucas Van Berkel, and was impressed with their contribution. “We played good, but we had some difficulties receiving (Bartlomiej) Lemanski’s serves, and that was a difference maker. I think at times we played some very good volleyball. I would have preferred to win obviously, but was a good preparation game.”

Poland came out looking to impress the home crowd and lead 8-3 at the first technical time out of the opening set. Canada clawed its way back to even the score at 15 and then it was a battle to the end when Poland closed the deal at 36.

Canada looked confident in the second to lead at the first time out by four points, but Poland then equalized at 13. Poland then battled and got the upper hand. The third set was much closer, but buoyed by the home crowd, Poland won by two points.

“I think our level was quite good today; we served much better than yesterday (against Russia) and we kept the sets close,” TJ Sanders, who is serving as Team Canada’s captain for this tournament, said during the post-match press conference. “But they also served really well… we had a few young guys come in a play well, so that was good.”

An update on middle blocker Graham Vigrass is that there are no broken bones in his hand.

  • 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 TBD

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 features 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.

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