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Canada falls to Poland at men's volleyball Olympic qualifier tournament

Canadian men's volleyball team Canadian men's volleyball team - The Canadian Press

XI'AN, China — Canada sits at 2-1 at the men's volleyball Olympic qualification tournament after dropping a narrow decision to top-ranked Poland on Tuesday.

Bednorz Bartosz had 25 points to pace the attack as Poland clipped Canada 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 25-20, 20-25, 17-15).

Stephen Maar of Aurora, Ont., led Canada with 19 points, followed by Eric Leoppky (16) of Steinbach, Man., and Toronto's Arthur Szwarc (11).

Though Poland led in attack points (62-51), Canada had a slight advance in blocking (13-12) and service aces (6-5). Poland lost more points to errors (35-29).

“It was a very close game. We played a very good first set and then our side-out game got a little bit in trouble and Poland began to control our attacks very well, and we were making some not so good choices in our attack,” said Canadian coach Tuomas Sammelvuo, who also coaches a professional team in Poland (Grupa Azoty ZAKSA).

The loss dropped Canada to fourth place in Pool C, based on points, behind Poland (3-0), Belgium (2-1) and Argentina (2-1) with four matches to go.

Only the top two countries from each of the tournament's three pools will advance to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Canada is scheduled to face host China (0-2) on Wednesday morning local time (Tuesday evening in Canada).

The round-robin tournament runs until Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2023.