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Volleyball Canada –  Canada Impresses in VNL Home Opener

Ottawa, Canada, June 8, 2018 –  Canada made it a fourth straight victory, this time in front of a welcoming crowd, as the men’s team beat Australia 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-19) in FIVB Volleyball Nations League action today.
Stephen Maar stood out for the home team with 18 points (16 spikes and two blocks) while Jason DeRocco was had 15 spikes, a block and an ace.

“We needed to play well tonight,” explained Canada’s head coach Stephane Antiga, whose team was lifted by the atmosphere in the Arena at TD Place. “It seems easy because we won 3-0, but it was because we played nice volleyball; we served and spiked really well…. We didn’t waste a lot of energy because we played only three sets and some guys like Gavin Schmitt and Arthur Szwarc both played a little bit. There were many fans, which makes us happy.”
It was the first time the team had played in front of such a friendly crowd in some time.

“I think we’re all super excited to be home, and you could see we were a little bit antsy at the beginning of the game. It good to be back in front of a home crowd and we want to play well. It’s cool to show them some good volleyball and obviously we’re really happy that we came home and got the 3-0 victory,” said captain TJ Sanders of London, Ontario. “We’ll do our normal prep for the next two games (against Germany on Saturday and the US on Sunday), but our goal right now is to win every game.”
Today marked the return of Gavin Schmitt, a veteran who played a pivotal role in the team’s Olympic campaign:  “It’s good to be back with the guys, obviously in a smaller role,” said the Saskatoon native. “The guys are playing really well and my goal was just to help out in any way I can, and I was able to bring a little bit of energy in a tight second set. Overall, I think we played pretty well. Australia had a really good set in the second. They were making us play really hard and were digging a lot of balls so we had to escape from that, but once we did, we got rolling in the third and we were able to get the win. For me the crowd always helps!”
Earlier at TD Place today, the U.S. fell to Germany in three sets, which was a bit of an upset. Tomorrow, the U.S. plays Australia, who are struggling with six losses and just one win, and Canada meets the Germans.

Roster (Ottawa)
1 – TJ Sanders, London, ON (setter)
4 – Nicholas Hoag, Sherbrooke, QC (outside hitter)
5 – Lucas Van Berkel, Edmonton, AB (middle blocker)
7 – Stephen Maar, Aurora, ON (outside hitter)
8 – Jay Blankenau, Sherwood Park, AB (setter)
9 – Jason DeRocco, Winnipeg, MB (outside hitter)
12 – Gavin Schmitt, Saskatoon, SK (opposite)
13 – Ryley Barnes, Edmonton, AB (outside hitter)
15 – Bryan Duquette, St. Thomas, ON (libero)
16 – Ryan Sclater, Port Coquitlam, BC  (opposite)
17 – Graham Vigrass, Calgary, AB (middle blocker)
18 – Bradley Gunter, Comox, BC (opposite)
19 – Blair Bann, Edmonton, AB (libero)
20 – Arthur Szwarc, Toronto, ON (middle blocker)


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About Volleyball Nations League
In both the men’s and women’s leagues, the 16 teams in each gender will compete first in round robin format. With a total of 260 matches played in the tournament, each team will play a minimum of 15 matches and each core nation will host at least one pool. There will be one combined standings table across all pools for each gender. In the men’s and women’s competition, the top five teams of the standings will join the hosts for the finals.  #VNL
Volleyball Canada
Jackie Skender
Director, Communications
Venue media contact:
Michèle Dion