Tokyo, Japan, May 31, 2016 – Canada recorded their first victory at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament with a 3-2 (25-19, 24-26, 20-25, 29-27, 15-11) win over Australia at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Canada had great scoring efforts from John Gordon Perrin, Nicholas Hoag and Gavin Schmitt. Perrin top scored for Canada with 25 points, while Hoag and Schmitt had 22 markers each. Australia’s Thomas Edgar had a 33-point haul to lead all scorers.
Australia started with a 5-2 lead in the first set but Hoag and Perrin stepped up on their game to help Canada gain an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout. Both sides traded points in the succeeding plays until Justin Duff crushed two attack winners that gave them a slim 16-15 advantage. Canada pulled away and scored the last three points that sealed the set 25-19.
Australia once again took an early lead but Canada tied the game at 10-all. Canada outscored Australia with a 7-4 run but the latter fought back and levelled the score at 20-all. Canada had set point at 24-22 but Edgar’s spike and Paul Carroll’s ace broke the Canadian momentum. Nehemiah Mote made a crucial block to put Australia ahead until Schmitt scored the finishing touch to steal the second set 26-24.
The Australians continued with good rhythm and mostly led with a two-point cushion over the Canadians. Australia then stretched their lead to 20-15 as Canada struggled to regain their momentum. Australia raced to gain a 2-1 set-advantage with a 25-20 finish in the third frame. Canada led briefly in the fourth set but their defence collapsed as Edgar started to convert on his shots from the right flank. After a series of lead changes, Canada came out on top. Schmitt got into his scoring rhythm and led the Canadian offence. Both sides raced down the stretch but the North Americans had the better finish with Perrin and Schmitt’s set winners 29-27.
Canada applied more pressure on their serve that forced Australia to struggle on defence. The Canadian scoring trio continued to convert on their attacks and put them at set point. Australia saved two points but Duff’s attack slid through the middle for Canada’s set and match victory 15-11.