Canadian men's volleyball team earns crucial win at last-chance Olympic qualifier
Team needs a win vs. China and help from Poland to guarantee Summer Games spot
The Canadian men's volleyball team have put themselves in a good position to end their 24-year Olympic drought, beating host Japan at the World Olympic Qualifying tournament in Tokyo on Saturday.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JPNvsCAN?src=hash">#JPNvsCAN</a> 1-3 (25-23 19-25 21-25 19-25) and 🇨🇦 get the win!! WAY to go boys ... Need to beat China tomorrow <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/letsdothis?src=hash">#letsdothis</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WOQT?src=hash">#WOQT</a> 👍—@VBallCanada
Canada took the match in four sets (25-23 19-25 21-25 19-25) and improved their record to 3-3 at the tourney.
"This gives us a chance to play for qualification tomorrow," Canada's head coach Glenn Hoag said. "I am very proud of the players, some of the bench players came in - Graham Vigrass and Steve Marshall - and did a great job, and Gavin [Schmitt] and Gord [Perrin] stayed very focused."
The top four finishers will book their place at the Rio Olympics in August, but three of those spots have already been claimed by Poland, France, and Iran.
Poland, France and Iran have qualified. Who will be 4th? Canada, China, and Australia all in with a shout. <a href="https://t.co/JT0LSNI3T9">pic.twitter.com/JT0LSNI3T9</a>—@gavinlday
Canada, Australia, and China are the last three teams battling for the final qualification spot, with Canada and China set to play their final match against one another at 11:55 p.m. ET on Saturday.
"Japan fought really hard, as we expected them to do. Now we have to try to recover as fast as possible for the match tomorrow," Hoag said. "China has had a great tournament so far. We studied them and we're ready for them. I think our spirits are high and we will give it our all tomorrow for sure."
Australia – who defeated China earlier in the day – will face Poland, the no. 2 ranked team in the world, in their final match.
As it stands before the final matches, Canada will need to win vs. China and have the Aussies fall in their match against Poland to snatch the final Rio qualification spot.
Australia currently holds a tiny set ratio advantage over Canada. That's tie-breaker if tie in wins and points. Should be head-to-head.—@gavinlday
Canada's last appearance at the Olympics for men's volleyball was in Barcelona in 1992.