Canada opens volleyball worlds with sweep of Netherlands
Canadians face Egypt on Thursday
Canada is off to a winning start at the world volleyball championship.
Nicholas Hoag of Sherbrooke, Que., led the way with 12 points as Canada swept the Netherlands 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-18) on Wednesday in Ruse, Bulgaria.
It was Canada's first win over the Netherlands in world championship history. The Canadians lost the previous two meetings in 1978 and 1990.
"It's just good to get the win out of the way and get into our rhythm at the world championship," said Hoag, who had four aces. "Today, at least, I was a little nervous and I think a few of the guys felt the same way, but we looked focused and we applied the game plan, and I think that's what it takes against any team we're going to play."
Sharone Vernon-Evans of Scarborough, Ont., added 11 points for Canada, while Netherlands captain Abdel-Aziz Nimir had a match-high 13.
A triple block by Canada on Abdel-Aziz near the end of the second set gave coach Stephane Antinga's team the key point it needed to win the tightest set.
"The first game is never easy for any team in any tournament — the players are always a bit nervous and anxious, this is normal — but the approach to the match was very good and they played well in all elements of the game," Antiga said.
"I used almost all of my players, so this is very positive and important, and I'd say this is a perfect start to the world championship. Everybody is ready mentally and physically."
Canada faces Egypt on Thursday.