Iran swept Canada 3-0 (25-15, 26-24, 25-16) in the opening match of the third week of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in front of a packed house at the Ghadir Arena in Urmia on Friday.

“We knew it was going to be loud and difficult conditions – the atmosphere was amazing in the arena, but we started off slow,” said Canada’s head coach, Glenn Hoag.  “We executed poorly and were put on the defensive. Although the second set was much better, we still struggled with our attack and other aspects of the game… and the third set was very similar to the first. It’s a challenging weekend with the travel and time difference, but we have elements we can draw from to take to the next matches, and we need to do better.”

This was the sixth win for Iran in seven matches so far in 2019 VNL pool play. Canada stands at four wins and three losses in the tournament, and now faces reigning world champions Poland, and 2018 VNL winners Russia.

Iran was able to neutralize Canada’s Sharone Vernon-Evans, who was the tournament leading scorer going into today’s contest, keeping him to three points before he left the match in the second set.

Amir Ghafour led scoring today for Iran with 16 points. Canada’s Stephen Maar contributed 13 points for Canada.

Canada plays Russia at 7 am Eastern time on Saturday.

The following athletes are representing Canada during week three of the VNL men’s tournament in Urmia, Iran:

Steven Marshall, Abbotsford, BC
Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC (Captain)
Stephen Maar, Aurora, ON
Jason DeRocco, Winnipeg, MB
Sharone Vernon-Evans, Scarborough, ON
Lucas Van Berkel, Edmonton, AB
Ryan Sclater, Port Coquitlam, BC
Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB
Arthur Szwarc, Toronto, ON
Brett Walsh, Calgary, AB
Adam Schriemer, Winnipeg, MB
Daenan Gyimah, Scarborough, ON
Brandon Koppers, Georgetown, ON

Canadian results so far:

VNL Ottawa (June 07 to 09)
CAN def. AUS 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-18)
CAN def. GER 3-2 (23-25, 29-27, 25-18, 23-25, 15-12)
SRB def. CAN 3-2 (25-17, 24-26, 25-21, 26-28,15-12)

VNL Argentina (May 31 to June 02)
BUL def. CAN 3-1 (25-20, 26-24, 19-25, 25-17)
CAN def. POR 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-16)
CAN def ARG 3-1 (25-21, 29-27,16-25, 26-24).

VNL Iran (June 14 to 16
IRI def. CAN 3-0 (25-15, 26-24, 25-16)