Canada fought for its first win of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup on Saturday, holding off Egypt 3-2 (27-25, 27-25, 16-25, 22-25, 15-9) at Nagano White Ring arena.

“We had a really good start, of course we can see that reflected in the first two sets, and our young guys that are here played very well,” said coach Dan Lewis. “But Egypt has some of the most athletic volleyball players I’ve ever seen. Their speed and power combinations on the court are really impressive, and they are really well coached and they’re much more organized, so they’re very difficult to control. … It was only in the fifth set where we were able to restart again, which allowed us to have a good opportunity, and we managed to stay focused. I think that’s probably what led to the first victory for us, which has been elusive to say the least.”

Canada’s captain Nicholas Hoag contributed 20 points, including five aces, in today’s effort.
“We needed a win, especially for the mental side of things,””said Hoag. “Egypt played very well, they put a lot of pressure on their serves, which put us in trouble. Myself and Dan (Daniel Lewis, coach) were talking just after the game that Egypt is not who they were three years ago, they’re a much better team now, much more skilled and they don’t make as many mistakes in reception. They made us play a lot and they played really well today. On our side, we fought – we were very aggressive at some times, especially in the fifth set – and we need that. Especially the young guys that we have, we need to win these games, regardless of who’s on the other side of the court.”

Canada is 1-3, and now plays Australia on Sunday (4 am ET).

The 2019 Men’s World Cup is held in Fukuoka (Marinmesse) and Nagano (White Ring), before teams move to Hiroshima for the remaining six matches at the city’s Green Arena.

The 12 participating teams compete in a single round-robin competition over 11 match days. Three games will be played at each venue each match day.

The World Cup was last held in 2015 – Canada finished seventh over