Photo: FIVB

Canada opened up the second round of pool play with a win over Puerto Rico 3-1 (25-19, 25-14, 19-25, 25-17) at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship.

Canada plays the Czech Republic on Tuesday. It was the team’s first victory, after a winless first round.

“Our first pool was very tough,” said Joao Paulo Bravo said of playing Italy, Brazil and Poland in the preliminary round. “We played as best as we could, but we knew we were not quite at the level of the other stronger teams. In this round, we can show the level we have and we played well today.

“I think we just lost a little bit of concentration in the third set when we led 2-0. We made mistakes we are not supposed to do, so that made it easy for the other team to come back into the game. Puerto Rico came back strong, but we were able to control the fourth set again nicely.”

Canada’s team captain Mathias Elser told “I think we limited our errors in the first two sets. In the third set, we didn’t play our game. They were pushing us and we probably got a little nervous and tried too hard to push back. But in the fourth set we were able to calm our nerves down and were able to execute well…. I think it’s a good start in this round for us to build some confidence. We will go as hard as we can in our remaining games.”

Pool D (preliminary round) results: 
July 20: Poland def. Canada 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 26-24)
July 19: Brazil def. Canada 3-0 (25-25, 25-19, 25-13)
July 18: Italy def. Canada 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-15)

U21 travelling roster:
Jackson Bere, Toronto, ON
Jordan Canham, Newington, ON
Jesse Elser, Calgary, AB
Mathias Elser, Calgary, AB (captain)
Colm Guyn, Lethbridge, AB
Brodie Hofer, Langley, BC
Xander Ketrzynski, Toronto, ON
Coltyn Liu, Vancouver, BC
Justin Lui, Pickering, ON
Fynnian McCarthy, Lake Country, BC
Matthew Neaves, Calgary, AB
Alexis Tournier, Gatineau, QC

Head coach: Joao Paulo Bravo
Asst. Coach: Adam Simac
Asst. Coach: Shayne White
Statistician: Daniel Cuzmar-Grimalt
Athletic Therapist: Seadon Pereira
Team Manager: Melanie Desrochers