Canada drops opener at last-chance Olympic men's volleyball qualifier
Last Rio spots are up for grabs at Tokyo tourney
Canada opened its last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament on Saturday in Tokyo with a five-set loss to Poland, the top-ranked squad at the event.
Poland, the No. 2 ranked squad in the world, took the tie-break win 3-2 (25-18, 17-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-9).
"We wished we had two points or a victory, but we'll take that point (from the 3-2 loss)," Canadian head coach Glenn Hoag said. "I told the guys that we'll have to fight in every match, and that's what we'll do until the end to try to get our ticket to Rio, and we just have to turn around quickly now and not focus on this match too much.
"I'm really proud of how the guys played. We didn't play perfectly, but we played at a very good level. It's fun to see Gavin [Schmitt] back from his injury. This is his first match since the World Cup last year – he's got a big heart and he gave it his all and did well."
Four Olympic spots are available with one reserved for the top Asian finisher in the competition. The other teams are from Asia, South America and Europe. Canada must finish in the top three to guarantee an Olympic berth.
Canada, ranked No. 10 in the world, will next face No. 8 Iran on Saturday at 9:10 p.m. ET.
- TJ Sanders, London, Ont.
- Gordon Perrin, Creston, B.C.
- Dan Lewis, Oakville, Ont.
- Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, Que.
- Rudy Verhoeff, Calgary, Alta.
- Justin Duff, Winnipeg, Man.
- Adam Simac, Ottawa, Ont.
- Toon Van Lankvelt, Rivers, Man.
- Daniel Jansen Van Doorn, Langley, B.C.
- Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon, Sask.
- Graham Vigrass, Calgary, Atla.
- Blair Bann, Edmonton, Atla.
- Jay Blankenau, Sherwood Park, Alta.
- Steven Marshall, Abbotsford, B.C.