The Canadian men's volleyball team was defeated 3-0 by Poland on Tuesday night at Ariano's Palazzetto dello Sport, in their final game of the round-robin tournament at the 2019 FISU Summer Universiade in Italy.
The challenge was a big one for the Canadians, as the Poles had not lost a single set so far in the competition. Poland completes its preliminary-play action with the top spot in Group C, while Canada, with a 1-3 record, will move on to a quarter-final against Ukraine in hopes of placing as high as ninth.
“We learned that our serving pressure was not enough to take some of their offence away,” said Canada’s head coach Dave Preston. “They are built very differently than we are. I think our reception handled their serving, but their net play was just a little beyond us.
It was a fourth game in four straight days for Canada, with Monday’s five-setter against Iran draining a lot of energy.
“All of the conditions have been difficult: the heat, the emotional attachment, the limited preparation,” added Preston. “There has been a number of challenges for us, but I think our guys have resented to accept every one of them. This was probably a little more that we could handle today, but I would be hard-pressed to find a better team in this tournament than Poland right now.”
Canada had a good start to the game, keeping the pace up to 8-8. The Poles then switched gears and took a 16-12 lead at the technical break of the first set, which they went on to win 25-20.
A similar scenario happened in the second, with Poland was in front 16-12 at the technical timeout. A series of powerful spike services from Bartlomiei Lipinski caused headaches for the Canadians, who conceded six points in a row and the set by a score of 25-16.
The men in red and white came to life at the beginning of the third frame, taking a short lead of 8-6. But once again, Poland got up, getting in first at the technical break (16-12) and then taking the set and the match by 25-18.
Craig Ireland and Pierce Johnson led the way for Canada with seven kills each. Middle blocker George Hobern had three blocks.
Canada will begin the consolation round on Thursday against Ukraine to play for the 9th through 16th spots. The two teams will play at 11:30 a.m. EDT / 8:30 a.m. PDT (5:30 p.m. local) at Palatedeschi in Benevento.