Canada defeated Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-15) in Vancouver, BC, today to receive the final men’s NORCECA ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Canada was undefeated at this qualifier, which also featured Cuba and Mexico. The weekend was not without drama, however, as the host country and Cuba battled it out in five sets in front of a packed house at the Pacific Coliseum.
“It was exciting for the fans, exciting for the sport and a very emotional win for us.
It will be my fourth time (going to the Olympics), third as a coach, it’s a great feeling every time, it’s a dream come true,” said Canada’s coach Glenn Hoag.
Canada finished fifth in Rio in 2016 with Hoag at the helm.
“We have to look at what we need to do from now until when we go to Tokyo, to really perform at the best level and challenge the best teams in the world. We have a good level, I think we can have a better level.”
Canada’s Daniel Jansen Vandoorn
“It was a little hard to get to sleep last night after Cuba. We had to reset, we knew it wasn’t done but we also knew the ball was in our court and it was our tournament to lose. I’m proud of the way our guys responded and we put together a clean match.
This has been the highlight of my career. It was quite the experience. I’m so proud of the fans for not giving up on us and they deserve this as much as we do.
International volleyball is not a sport Canadians get to see live very often,
We faced some adversity on the court as individuals and as a team but we fought through it and we put together a great performance. I’m looking forward to Tokyo!”
Canada’s Ryan Sclater:
“This weekend was a product of lots of years of hard work. Lots of people are seeing us for the first time or once a year but to be able to come into the game and be confident that we’re going to go to Tokyo, that’s not something you create in the moment, it takes years of hard work.
It’s been a crazy journey for me. I was really struck by the passion of the guys who played in Rio before. They commit fully to the team and commit to the guys who never been there before and didn’t take anything for granted even though they’ve been there once.”
Puerto Rico’s head coach – Oscar Antonetti
“Canada was prepared and a very physical team. We competed, we played fast but they were the better team. We just wanted to serve well and see how they reacted to that and put some pressure on them. They did well and kept their distance and had an advantage
It’s a matter of seeing what we have, seeing the opportunities, we’re here and hopefully we’ll get better
We want to thank Canada for their hospitality, they treated us really well, you can tell culturally, it’s a great country.”
Puerto Rico’s Maurice Torres – #9 (captain):
“We knew it was going to be really tough against Canada in front of the home crowd. We had to give it our all but they were pretty much flawless.
The game plan was to have fun, we have nothing to lose to go out without any pressure and play our hearts out. We started off a little up and down then we started the second set well but then the same thing happened. We’ll take this as a learning experience and we’ll try and focus on the next four years.
We’re going to go back to the drawing board. I love these guys and love being a part of team Puerto Rico.”