June 13th, 2024

Marr scores 27 but Canada falls to Slovenia 3-2 in Volleyball Nations League

By The Canadian Press on May 25, 2024.

Canada's Stephen Timothy Maar (7) spikes the ball above the block of Germany's Anton Brehme (12) and Yan Bohme (31) during Volleyball Nations League action in Ottawa, on Sunday, June 11, 2023. Maar of Aurora, Ont., led all scorers with 27 points but Canada's men's team still lost to Slovenia 3-2 on Saturday in the week's final match at the Volleyball Nations League. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

ANTALYA, Türkiye – Stephen Maar of Aurora, Ont., led all scorers with 27 points but Canada’s men’s team still lost to Slovenia 3-2 on Saturday in the week’s final match at the Volleyball Nations League.

Slovenia won with scores of 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 21-25, 15-10.

Tonček Štern led Slovenia with 23 points.

The Canadians’ record dropped to 2-2 after one week, while Slovenia is undefeated.

“It was a huge fight in this first week. Today we came to play and win against a very, very good team,” said Canada’s head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo. “We made a step forward in playing these types of teams, but in the end the difference was in service and reception.

Though Slovenia led in most areas – attack (66-57), aces (11-3) and had fewer errors (22-27) – Canada dominated in blocking points (14-4), with three of Marr’s points coming on blocks.

Slovenia is ranked seventh in the world rankings but is still in the hunt for an Olympic spot.

Canada is ranked 12th and has already qualified for the upcoming Paris Olympics after the team’s second-place performance in the Olympic Qualifier pool last year.

Week 2 brings the men’s team back to Canada for the Ottawa leg of VNL, from June 4 to 9 at the Arena at TD Place. The Canadian men will play friendlies with Italy at the Centre Sportif de Gatineau on May 31 and June 1.

“Overall, I’m happy with this first week,” said Sammelvuo. “There will always be things to improve, but we also got a lot of confidence and now we come back to Canada and we’re looking forward to playing the second week in Ottawa in front of our home crowd.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2024.

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