Canada managed a 3-0 (27-25, 30-28, 25-19) win in Pool B at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship today despite a challenging match with Egypt.

Canada came out looking solid, taking an early lead with a five-point 11-6 advantage out of the gate, but Egypt did not back down and came back to tie the set at 22. From then on, it was a back and forth battle until the final stage of the match.

“It was a difficult game, even though we won 3-0, especially in the second set it was pretty tight,” said Canada’s head coach Stephane Antiga. “Egypt played well; we played better yesterday, but today we really we had good reception and high efficiency in spiking, but that was not really enough because they spiked really well as well.”

He continued: “We probably were a little bit anxious because of the fact that we were the favourites, and that’s something that the team doesn’t seem comfortable with for some reason. But we played more aggressively at the end of each set and in the third set, which is good. I would like to see us with a little more confidence.”

The players agreed that it wasn’t their best performance, but a crucial first-round win nonetheless.

“We could have played better of course and we definitely want to play better, but it’s good that we showed signs of resilience and we really fought hard to keep the momentum on our side and made sure we controlled the game, even though it was a little out of hand at times,” said Canada’s Sharone Vernon-Evans. “We are just happy with how we finished out the sets and got the 3-0 win, which is important.”

Nicholas Hoag had a standout performance with 24 points for Canada, followed by team captain Gordon Perrin with 18 and Graham Vigrass with seven, including a match-ending ace serve. For Egypt, Ahmed Shafik scored 17 points.

“I think we fight a lot, we may not be the most skilled players in the world, but we feel there is a team out there,” said Nick Hoag, who was a member of the Rio 2016 Olympic team. “We are building toward Tokyo and hopefully you’ll see us for a while!”

Canada now faces China on Saturday.