Canada’s men halt volleyball skid at World Cup, outlasting Egypt

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Canada’s men’s volleyball team edged Egypt 3-2 on Saturday to pick up its first win in four games at the FIVB World Cup in Nagano, Japan.

Set scores were 27-25, 27-25, 16-25, 22-25, 15-9.

“We managed to maintain that fifth set and stay focused,” Canada coach Daniel Lewis said from the Nagano White Ring arena. “That’s probably what led to the first victory for us.”

This Egyptian squad is not what Lewis remembers from three years ago, noting they are among the most athletic players he’s ever seen.

“Their speed and power combinations on the court are really impressive,” Lewis said, “and now they are really well coached and much more organized, so they’re difficult to control.”

Blew 2-set lead

Nicholas Hoag led Canada with 20 points and Ryley Brendan Barnes added 16.

Ahmed Shafik had 19 points to lead the Egyptians, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force the deciding set.

Canada, which finished seventh at the last World Cup in 2015, began the tournament with losses to Brazil, Russia and Iran.

The Canadians will play in a zonal tourney in January in hopes of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

We were aggressive at times, especially in the fifth set, and we need that.— Canada captain Nicholas Hoag on Saturday’s victory over Egypt

“We have to live up to the pressure and try to get some wins [in Nagano] and be ready for January,” said Hoag, Canada’s captain.

Hoag said Canada got into trouble when Egypt put pressure on its serves.

“We were aggressive at times, especially in the fifth set, and we need that,” he added. “With the young guys we have, we need that to win these games, regardless of who’s on the other side of the court.”

The 12 participating teams compete in a single round-robin competition over 11 match days. The Canadians play Australia next.

Canada finished seventh at the last World Cup in 2015.

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