Volleyball Nations League – Canada finishes tournament on a positive note

Canada wraps up VNL with a win over Japan

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Photo: FIVB

Canada finished its 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League campaign with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-22) victory over Japan on Sunday.

Middle blocker Graham Vigrass led the team today with 18 points, followed by Nick Hoag’s 11 points. It was a quiet afternoon for Stephen Maar, but his three points still saw him ending up as Canada’s leading scorer for the tournament with 165 points.

Canada beat hosts China 3-0 on Saturday, but hopes for making the VNL finals were stifled after a 0-3 run coming in to that match, which included 3-0 loss to Serbia on Friday night.

Stepping up for the Japanese on Sunday were opposite Issei Otake with 13 points, as well as Masahiro Yanagida, who contributed 11 to his team’s effort.

With the VNL finals line-up finalized earlier in the day – Poland nailing down the final spot in the field of six with their 3-0 win over Australia in Melbourne – pride was on the line, as well as the head-to-head record between the two nations, a figure that stood at 7-6 to the Japanese at world level coming in to the match.

The result saw Canada finish the inaugural VNL tournament with a respectable 8-7 record, while Japan ended at 6-9.

With Canada’s team travelling to Poland, Argentina, Ottawa, Bulgaria and now China over the five weeks of VNL pool play, it was a taxing tournament for the players.  Canada, however, had several memorable highlights, including sweeping their weekend in Argentina, beating Brazil in three sets last week in Bulgaria and showcasing VNL in Canada (at the Arena at TD Place in Ottawa) during the weekend of June 8 to 10.

Russia, France, USA, Brazil, Poland and Serbia will head to Lille, France, for the finals beginning on July 4.

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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