Canada wraps up VNL Ottawa 2-2

OTTAWA, Canada, June 09, 2024.- Canada finished week 2 of Volleyball Nations League (men) with a loss to Serbia today at the Arena at TD Place in Ottawa, Ontario.

The final score was Canada 1, Serbia 3 (25-21, 20-25, 18-25, 23-25). Serbia led slightly in attack points (56-54), Canada in blocks (8-7), but Serbia served up 11 aces compared with Canada’s two. Both sides made 22 errors.

“We just couldn’t stop their attack,” said Canada’s Head Coach Tuomas Sammelvuo. ” …If you look at the numbers, we are there, but there’s one point here and there… We knew there would be huge service pressure and they served really well today, so that was another difference. ..We had opportunities, but we didn’t convert, and the result is there. We will focus on getting better and being more efficient in attack and defence.”

Serbia’s Drazen Luburić led the points leaderboard with 22. Stephen Maar and Arthur Szwarc were top scorers for Canada with 16 points apiece.

The next week of men’s play for Canada is in Manila, Philippines, beginning on June 18.

“We’ve improved since last year; I think the work shows – we are able to compete with the top teams and win against top teams. Going forward into the final week in the Philippines, we’ll be looking to make the last few wins and continue improving and hoping to make top 8 (in VNL) and then going to Paris,” said Canadian libero Justin Lui. “We gained a lot of confidence from qualifying for the Olympics and knowing we can win under pressure.

“Last night (a win vs USA) was one of the most memorable matches I’ve had recently. In front of a sold-out home crowd, the team knows now that we can beat top teams when we put our best foot forward.”

Canada’s men’s team is qualified for Paris 2024, Serbia is still looking to qualify via world rankings. 

The Canadian women resume VNL play in Japan this week.

Canada beats USA in front of a record home crowd

OTTAWA, Canada, June 8, 2024.- Canada beat USA today in Volleyball Nations League men’s week 2 action at the Arena at TD Place in front of more than 7000 spectators, a record attendance for this tournament in North America.

The final score was Canada 3 USA 1 (25-16, 19-25, 26-24, 28-26).

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Canada’s Stephen Maar dominated scoring with 24 points; Thomas Jaeschke led the USA with 21 points. Overall, Canada led in attack points 56-49, United States led in blocking 8-5, Canada led in aces 8-5 and errors were even at 29.

USA triple block against Maar (Canada)

“We feel great; we won,” said Canada’s head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo. “We were serving and passing a lot better as opposed to the last game (against Argentina) and our block defense was very good against a very difficult team to control in attack. But now, for us the most important thing is to be mature. After this game we have another important match to prepare for tomorrow. Serbia is one of the world’s top opponents so it will be a big test for us. Of course I’m really happy with the atmosphere tonight. The support from the fans was very good.”

Team captain Nick Hoag (Sherbrooke, QC) said: “I think the difference today was serve and receive… We were able to put a lot of pressure on the U.S. today. When they are in system, they are one of the best offensive teams in the world and we were able to keep them off net and work block defense. It was also a great atmosphere here tonight!”

United States finish week two with a 3-5 record. Canada plays Serbia tomorrow in the final match of this leg of VNL.

Cuba Defeats Olympic Champion

OTTAWA, Canada, June 8, 2024.- Cuba defeated Olympic Champion France 3-2 (25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-10) in the second week of the Volleyball Nations League in Ottawa.

Cuba’s victory boosts their chances of making it to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, although the decisive match will be the first game of the final week against Serbia. Cuba has a 4-4 record.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Cuba’s outside hitters were the stars of the match; Marlon Yant led with 23 points (19 attacks, 3 blocks, one ace), while Miguel Ángel López contributed 21 points (16 attacks, 2 blocks, 3 aces). Middle blocker Javier Concepción added 14 points.

Opposite Théo Faure, with 20 points, was France’s top scorer, with 20 attacks and 3 aces. He was joined by outside hitter Timothée Carle, who scored 20 points (18 attacks, 2 blocks).

Cuba led in blocking 13-7 and committed fewer unforced errors 22-29. France led in attacking 64-60.

USA Dominate the Net in 3rd Win at 2024 VNL

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 7, 2024) –The U.S. Men’s National Team came back after dropping the first set to beat Serbia 3-1 (23-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-14) at the preliminary round of Volleyball Nations League on Friday in Ottawa, Canada.

United States (3-4) takes on Canada (3-3) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT. Canada has already secured its ticket to the Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

Middle blocker Taylor Averill is looking forward to playing Canada in front of their home crowd.

“This is what you live for,” Averill told Volleyball World. “Their home court, they’re a good team. We don’t have a lot of time to prepare, but we know this team. We’ve played against them many times. I’m excited, I hope we can show up.”

Averill led the team in blocks with five and added seven kills (.636 hitting percentage).

Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke led all scorers with 19 points on 17 kills (.452) and two aces.

Opposite Matt Anderson and outside hitter TJ DeFalco each had 16 points. Anderson had 12 kills (.393) and four blocks. DeFalco had 14 kills (.500) and two aces.

Serbia did not play its best match, giving up 28 points on errors while the U.S. gave up 15.

The U.S. outblocked Serbia (11-6) and led in kills (55-52). Serbia edged out the U.S. on aces (5-4).

Argentina beats Canada at home 

OTTAWA, Canada, June 06, 2024.- In front of a home crowd in Ottawa at the Arena at TD Place, Canada fell to Argentina on Thursday in Volleyball Nations League week 2 play in four sets 1-3 (18-25, 25-22, 21-25, 20-25).

Opposite Arthur Szwarc was Canada’s top scorer with 14 points, equaled by the winning side’s Luciano Palonsky (14 points).

Tuomas Sammelvuo, Canada’s head coach, said: “We didn’t play good volleyball, very simply. Technically and tactically, we didn’t show up well for the match tonight. Argentina is a completely different team than Cuba (which Canada beat on Tuesday night). They have a very high-speed offense. Basically, we just must play better volleyball.”

Canada led in attack points – 53-51. Argentina led in blocking 11-6 and serves 5-2 and Canada made more errors (30-23).

Canada has qualified for Paris 2024, while Argentina is still aiming for a spot in the Games via the World Rankings. Canada plays USA on Saturday, followed by Serbia on Sunday.

United Sates fell to Italy and Cuba to the Netherlands

OTTAWA, Canada, June 6, 2025.- The world champions swept the United States and the Netherlands defeated Cuba in four sets at the TD Place on Thursday at the Volleyball Nations League 2024.

Italy swept the United States 3-0 (25-25, 26-24, 25-20) providing them 10.31 FIVB World Ranking points, which served two major purposes for them, pushing Italy one step closer to the Paris Olympics and moving them up to second place in the Rankings with 364.77 points, surpassing the Americans, who went down to 349.71.

The Americans, who this week in Ottawa are using the roster selected by head coach John Speraw to compete at the Olympics in 50 days, had outside hitter Torey Defalco and middle blocker Max Holt as their leading scorers with eight points each.

“We had opportunities to close the first two sets and we didn’t take them, that was the difference,” Holt reflected. “They’re a world-class team and we knew they were going to bring everything they had today. We have to learn from it and we know we’re probably going to see that team in a very important match in the near future.”

The USA are in 13th place with six points (two wins, four losses) and will need to do better in their six remaining Preliminary Phase matches to qualify the VNL finals.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

The United States will be back on the court in Ottawa on Friday, playing Serbia at 20:00 local time (00:00 GMT, Saturday).

Namir goes up to score one of this 38 points against Cuba

Nimir scores 38 points against Cuba

The first match of the day in Ottawa saw arguably the greatest individual performance of the VNL 2024 so far, with star opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz leading the Netherlands to a 3-1 (26-24, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22) win over Cuba with impressive 38 points, falling just five short of his own record.

Outside hitter Marlon Yant, with 16 points, and opposite Michael Sánchez (who celebrated his 38th birthday on the court), with 14, were Cuba’s main scorers.

The 9.66 World Ranking points earned kept the Dutch alive in the race to qualify for the Paris Games as they are still the second team below the qualification line with 222.71 but managed to reduce the gap to both Serbia (247.59), the last team inside the zone, and Cuba (242.53), the first ones looking from the outside.

Cuba will face Italy on Friday at 11:00 local time.

Canada opens VNL in Ottawa with 3-1 win over Cuba

OTTAWA, Canada, June 4, 2024.- Canada’s men’s team opened its second week of the 2024 edition of Volleyball Nations League with a 3-1 (25-21, 25-27, 25-20, 28-26) win in front of a supportive home crowd at the Arena at TD Place in Ottawa. 

Canada’s Eric Loeppky led scoring with 22 points, followed by Stephen Maar with 20 points and all contributed to a solid defense against the powerful Cuban attack. Lucas Van Berkel, Arthur Szwarc and Fynn McCarthy produced game-changing blocks throughout the match, including a triple effort by Van Berkel, Szwarc and Maar at the net to seal the victory.

Cuba led in attack points (60-56), but Canada dominated in blocking (18-6), while serves were even at four. Errors were similar.

Full schedule is on the VNL website:

“This is the most organized Cuban team I’ve played in a long time. They have incredible spikers. … For us, it’s super important to stay together. This is an example of when team organization generally beats gifted spikers. I am really happy how we came out against a strong team. They played extremely well during the first week. With each match, we are starting to play better and better. It’s a good sign,” said Maar.

Tuomas Sammelvuo, the Canadian team coach, highlighted the “18 blocks against a very physical team and the guys executed well. Another key factor was the attack against a big block. We were very efficient, with a few mistakes. … This is a great victory, and we want to improve for the next game.”

After a day off, Canada returns to TD Place on Thursday to play 2020 Olympic Games bronze medalist Argentina. Earlier today in Ottawa Argentina lost to USA in three sets. Cuba also returns to action on Thursday against the Netherlands.

Matches can be viewed at or VBTV. 

With their Olympic roster, USA score big win over Argentina

OTTAWA, Canada, June 4, 2024.- Using the players selected by head coach John Speraw to represent the country at the Paris Olympics for the first time in the Volleyball Nations League 2024, the United States began the second week of the tournament’s Preliminary Phase with a sweep of Argentina on Tuesday, in Ottawa, Canada.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

The Americans, who sent a different group of players to play in Antalya, Türkiye, two weeks ago, getting just a win in four matches, were dominant against the South Americans at the TD Place, triumphing 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 26-24) in the opening match of Pool 4.

Outside hitters Aaron Russell and Torey Defalco, with 13 points each, and opposite Matt Anderson, with 12, led the American offense to their second victory in the VNL 2024.

“We struggled a little bit with our service, but always relied on our system and the way we play,” Anderson commented. “We ended up taking the first week off because we wanted to give some of the guys who finished their club seasons late a few more days to rest. It’s a really important summer and a long one and we need to be ready. We expected some hiccups along the way today and we definitely had them, but we’ll watch the game film and make the adjustments that we can. We need a few more wins this week as we try to qualify for the VNL Finals.”

The top scorer of the Tokyo Olympics, Argentinean opposite Bruno Lima was the most productive player on the court, tallying 15 points, with 13 kills, one block and one ace.

The victory made the Americans move one spot up in the VNL standings, getting to six points (two wins) and going from 12th to 11th place. They also added 7.57 FIVB World Ranking points with the sweep and remained in second place, but are now much closer to second-placed Italy (360.02 to 361.86).

The United States will be on the court on Thursday facing world champions Italy at 16:30 local time (20:30 GMT).

2024 USA Olympic Men’s Team to Debut at VNL in Ottawa

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, June 3, 2024.-  The U.S. Olympic Men’s Volleyball Team for Paris 2024 will make its competitive debut at the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) preliminary round matches on June 4-8 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

The U.S. Men finished the first round of VNL at 1-3 with a less-experienced group of athletes. They are ranked No. 3 in the world and have won the silver medal at the last two VNLs (2022 and 2023).

The U.S. setters in Ottawa are Micah Christenson and Micah Ma’a. The liberos are Kyle Dagostino and Erik Shoji.

The outside hitters are T.J. DeFalco, Thomas Jaeschke, Garrett Muagututia and Aaron Russell. The opposites are Matt Anderson and Kyle Ensing. The middle blockers are Taylor Averill, Max Holt, Jeff Jendryk and David Smith.

Only 12 players are allowed on the Olympic roster. Ensing is the official alternate athlete for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Men’s Team and Dagostino is not on the roster.

The U.S. Men’s head coach is John Speraw, who was named head coach in 2013 and helped the team to the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Speraw’s top assistants are former indoor and beach player Matt Fuerbringer, who has coached college and club teams, and Javier Weber, a three-time Olympian for Argentina who also coached the national team and continues to coach for professional club teams. Olympian Erik Sullivan, who coaches with the Texas women’s volleyball team, will also assist Speraw in Ottawa.

U.S. Men’s Schedule for Week Two 2024 VNL
All times PDT
Matches will be shown live and on-demand on

Week 2 in Ottawa, Canada
June 4 at 1:30 p.m. USA vs Argentina
June 6 at 1:30 p.m. USA vs Italy
June 7 at 5 p.m. USA vs Serbia
June 8 at 1:30 p.m. USA vs Canada

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster
for 2024 Volleyball Nations League – Week 2

No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State, Western Empire)
Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State, Chesapeake)
Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
Kyle Ensing (Opp, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
10 Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Florida, Stanford Univ., Florida)
11 Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, Univ. of Southern California, Aloha)
12 Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State, Ohio Valley)
14 Micah Ma’a (S, 6-3, Kaneohe, Hawaii, UCLA, Aloha)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
18 Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA, Southern California)
19 Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Univ. of Hawaii, Northern California)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine, Southern California)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ., Aloha)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matt Fuerbringer
Second Assistants: Javier Weber and Erik Sullivan
Performance Analyst and Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Tim Pelot
Team Manager: David Dantes
Sports Psychologists: Andrea Becker, Peter Naschak
Doctors: Andrew Gregory

Men’s VNL Touches Down in Ottawa

June 3, 2024.- The much-anticipated week two of men’s Volleyball Nations League action is taking place in Ottawa, Ontario, this week.

Head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo has confirmed the week two Canadian men’s roster (listed below) and the team is ready to take on Cuba, Argentina, USA and Serbia.

Also, in Ottawa this week are national teams from Italy, France and Netherlands.

Full schedule is on the VNL website:

VNL carries extra importance this year as teams who have qualified for Paris 2024 are preparing for that tournament and other teams are still competing for a berth via rankings.

Canada’s matches in Ottawa
Tue., June 4 – 8:00 pm EDT CAN vs. CUB
Thu., June 6 – 8:00 pm EDT CAN vs. ARG
Sat., June 8 – 4:30 pm EDT CAN vs. USA
Sun., June 9 – 6:00 pm EDT CAN vs. SRB

Matches can be viewed at or VBTV. 

VNL Week 2 (Ottawa)
Luke Herr – Winnipeg, MB
Brett Walsh – Calgary, AB
Ryley Barnes – Edmonton, AB
Nicholas Hoag – Sherbrooke, QC
Eric Loeppky – Steinbach, MB
Stephen Maar – Aurora, ON 
Brodie Hofer – Langley, BC
Pearson Eshenko – Banff, AB
Fynn McCarthy – Lake Country, BC
Danny Demyanenko – Toronto, ON
Lucas Van Berkel – Edmonton, AB
Xander Ketrzynski – Toronto, ON
Arthur Szwarc – Toronto, ON
Justin Lui – Pickering, ON
Jordan Schnitzer – Surrey, BC
Landon Currie – Coldstream, BC

Head coach: Tuomas Sammelvuo
Assistant coach: Joao Paolo Bravo
Assistant coach: Michael Hawkins
Strength and conditioning: Michael Cook
Performance analyst: Damian Musiak
Athletic therapist: Schad Richea
Chiropractor: Abe Avender
Team manager: Cassandra Nicol
Director, high performance: Julien Boucher 

Hanes Unstoppable in U.S. Men’s First Win of 2024 VNL

May 26, 2024.- The U.S. Men’s National Team’s first win of the tournament came against Türkiye 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-21) in the week one finale of Volleyball Nations League preliminary play on Sunday in Antalya, Türkiye.

“It feels great, we put in a lot of work,” outside hitter Ethan Champlin told Volleyball World. “One thing we always talk about in the locker room is that, this team, these fourteen guys are only going to play together once. It’s probably not going to happen ever again. So we’re just enjoying the moments together, playing hard, playing for one another. That’s what’s most important.”

The U.S. Men finish week one with a 1-3 record. Week two of VNL will begin June 4 in Ottawa, Canada.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Opposite Jake Hanes could not be stopped, putting up an astounding 31 points on 29 kills and two aces.

Middle blocker Patrick Gasman had 13 points on nine kills, three blocks and one ace.

Outside hitter Jordan Ewert had seven points on six kills and one ace. Champlin added six points on four kills and two aces.

Aside from the massive stat line from Hanes, service pressure made the difference in the match with the U.S. scoring seven aces to Türkiye’s three. Türkiye did have the slight advantage on kills (51-50) and the teams were even on blocks (8-8). The U.S. scored on 32 opponent errors while committing 31.

After dropping the first set, the U.S. saw an energy shift when Hanes tied set two at 18-18 with an ace followed by a kill from the back row. Middle blocker Daniel Wetter made his VNL debut and contributed right away with a block to give the U.S. set point. Hanes took care of the rest once again from the back row to even the match 1-1.

The third set stayed close until the U.S. took the lead 15-14 after Champlin’s ace serve. A tough serve from Ewert led to a Türkiye attack error and gave the U.S. its first match lead (2-1) of the tournament.

Türkiye fought hard in the fourth set in front of their loud home crowd. However, the momentum was already well on the side of the U.S. Men and they didn’t give it back. Taking advantage of Türkiye’s errors and feeding the hot hand of Hanes, the U.S. Men secured its first VNL win.

Setter Quinn Isaacson added three points on two blocks and one ace.

Libero Kyle Dagostino was credited with nine digs and seven successful receptions. Libero Mason Briggs started the fourth set and was credited with four digs.

Opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez, outside hitter Brett Wildman and setter Josh Tuaniga all saw action as substitutes.

Cuba Triumphs Over Iran

May 5, 2024. – Cuba finished the first week of Volleyball Nations League with a 3-1 victory (25-20, 14-25, 25-21, 25-21) over Iran in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

At the conclusion of the first week of action, Cuba’s record stands at 3-1.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

The victory earned Cuba 4.4 points, for a total of 261.17 points, placing them in 9th place in the rankings, within the qualification zone for the Olympic Games.

Cuba outperformed Iran in attack points (53-21), block points (9-4), and had a slight edge in aces (7-6). However, Cuba conceded more points on errors (26-20).

Middle blocker Robertlandy Simón and outside hitter Marlon Yanta were Cuba’s top scorers with 14 points each. Simón scored on 8 kills, 3 blocks, and 3 aces, while Yant scored all on kills.

The top scorer of the match was Iran’s Meisam Salehi with 15 points.

Cuba will compete in week two of VNL in Ottawa, Canada.

United States fell to Bulgaria

May 25, 2024. – The U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Bulgaria 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-21) in Volleyball Nations League preliminary play on Friday in Antalya, Türkiye.

The U.S. Men (0-3) will play the host country Türkiye (0-3) on Sunday at 7 a.m. PT.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

With the loss, the Americans gave up their second position in FIVB World Ranking to Italy and dropped to number three.

The squad showed improvement, taking one set from Bulgaria. Opposite Jake Hanes provided the spark that allowed the U.S. to get its first set win of the 2024 VNL. Hanes led all scorers with 24 points on 20 kills, three blocks and one ace.

The U.S. Men will look to build on that as they prepare for their final match of week one.

“We got to hold it down later in the sets,” setter Josh Tuaniga told Volleyball World. “Right now, we’re playing really well in the beginning and toward the end, that’s where we start to let go of some opportunities. So, I think that comes with experience and some chemistry. We’re a new group, we just started playing together not too long ago. Hopefully going into the next match, we can speed that process up and really handle those late points.”

Outside hitter Jordan Ewert scored 13 points on 11 kills and two blocks. Middle blocker Matthew Knigge added 11 points on eight kills and three aces.

Middle blocker Patrick Gasman had six points on five kills and one block. Outside hitter Ethan Champlin, who started the second set and on, also had six points on five kills and one ace.

Setter Quinn Isaacson started the third and fourth sets for Tuaniga and had two kills.

Libero Kyle Dagostino was credited with 12 digs and five successful receptions.

Opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez and outside hitter Brett Wildman saw action as substitutes.

Canada takes Slovenia to five sets

May 25, 2024.- Canada’s men’s team wrapped up the first week of Volleyball Nations League 2024 in Antalya, Türkiye, on Saturday with a five-set loss to Slovenia.

After the long battle, the score was Slovenia 3, Canada 2 (22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 21-25, 15-10).

Canada’s record is 2-2 after week one, and Slovenia is undefeated with one match to go in Antalya.

Though Slovenia led in most areas – attack (66-57), aces (11-3) and had fewer errors (22-27) – Canada was able to dominate in blocking (14-4) points.

Opposite Tonček Štern of Slovenia was the winning team top scorer with 23 points; while Stephen Maar of Canada topped the board with 27 points (which included three of Canada’s successful blocking points.)

Setter Luke Herr told VBTV: “It was really a battle out there, back and forth, and we didn’t come on top today. Any team we play in VNL is going to be a difficult game and we just come out every match and give it our all. It was a good match overall.”

Slovenia is ranked 7th in the World Rankings but is still in the hunt for an Olympic spot. Canada is ranked 12th and is already qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics after the team’s second-place performance in the Olympic Qualifier pool last year.

Japan beat Cuba in a five set thriller

May 24, 2024.- Japan and Cuba battled in one of the most exciting duels of the 2024 Volleyball Nations League so far on Friday, in Rio de Janeiro, and the Asians emerged on the winning side of it after more than two hours of action to remain undefeated.

Japan, who don’t have star outside hitters Yuki Ishikawa and Ran Takahashi available this week, started some other key against the Cubans, such as opposite Yuji Nishida, but showed resilience to top a red-hot Cuban team 3-2 (18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 22-20).

It was a rollercoaster of a match, which saw the Caribbean start ahead and the Asians take the next two sets before a Cuban triumph in the fourth set forced a tie-breaker. Cuba built a 14-11 lead and got close to the win, but saw Japan come back to deny nine match points before Nishida put the last ball down to claim the victory.

Cuba were dominant at the net, outscoring Japan in kills (69 to 56) and blocks (20 to eight), but paid a steep price for their 39 errors. The Caribbean had the four players with the most points scored in the match in outside hitters Miguel Ángel López (25) and Marlon Yant (17) and middle blockers Robertlandy Simón and Javier Concepcion, with 14 each.

“Japan are one of the top teams in the World Rankings and we tried to bring our best,” Concepcion said. “They’re very disciplined and very technical and are a difficult opponent to anyone. We tried to stick to our game plan no matter what and we had our chances to win the match a few times, but unfortunately, we lost our focus and didn’t take them. We’re not sad about how we played, but certainly not happy either with the result.”

The defeat made the Cubans drop just 0.08 FIVB World Rankings points and kept them in ninth place, still inside the qualification zone for the Paris Olympics, with 256.77.

Cuba will complete their match schedules in the opening week of the VNL 2024 on Saturday, against Iran at 21:00 local time (00:00 GMT, Sunday).

U.S. Men Run into Olympic Champions at 2024 VNL

May 24, 2024.-  The U.S. Men’s National Team fell to France 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-21) in Volleyball Nations League preliminary play on Friday in Antalya, Türkiye.

The U.S. Men (0-2) will play Bulgaria (0-2) on Saturday at 10 a.m. PT.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

The U.S. Men have run into two tough opponents in Poland (reigning VNL champions) and France (reigning Olympic champions) in the opening week of VNL. While France did have some new faces on the court, they were still led by some familiar ones from the Tokyo Olympic Games roster. Outside hitter Yacine Louati was the top scorer for France with 13 points on 10 kills, two blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Kevin Tillie added eight points on seven kills and one block.

U.S. outside hitter Jordan Ewert put together another strong performance with 13 kills. He had 10 points on nine kills and one ace in his VNL debut against Poland.

“This is only our second match together,” Ewert told Volleyball World. “Our goal is obviously to win, but our main goal is to keep improving throughout the week and see what this team can do. It’s also tough with the first two matches being against Poland and France. I think we made some big improvements today as a team and also as individuals, so back to the drawing board and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”

France took advantage of errors and led most of the opening set until Ewert ended a long rally with a point of the block which tied the set at 22-22. However, France immediately took back the lead and never looked back.

Despite cleaning up their errors and leading at times in the final two sets, the U.S. Men couldn’t hold off France to avoid the sweep.

Middle blocker Matthew Knigge also had another good outing with 10 points on eight kills and two aces.

Outside hitter Cody Kessel had eight points on seven kills and one block.

Opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez had seven points or six kills and one block.

Middle blocker Michael Marshman came off the bench and added four kills.

Libero Kyle Dagostino was credited with nine digs and two successful receptions.

Setter Quinn Isaacson, outside hitter Brett Wildman and opposite Jake Hanes saw action as substitutes.

Canada sweeps Bulgaria in VNL

May 24, 2024.- Canada’s men’s team managed to control a young Bulgarian squad today for another win at Volleyball Nations League 2024 in Antalya, Türkiye.

Bulgaria put on a challenge each set, but Canada won 3-0 (25-22, 30-28, 26-24)

Canada led in attacks (43-38), blocks (9-5), serves were even at five apiece, but Canada made slightly more errors 26-24. Eric Loeppky (14) and Stephen Maar (13) again led Canada’s scoring.

“It was a very tight game, and I’m proud of our team that in important moments we could close the sets in our favour”,  said head coach, Tuomas Sammelvuo “To win 3-0 means a lot in rankings and for many other reasons. Of course, there are things that we need to do better and improve – for example, we missed too many serves today. But it’s been three early matches in three days, and we are handling that well. And now we will recover and get all our strength for tomorrow’s match against Slovenia”.

Team Canada’s Fynn McCarthy, making his VNL debut this year, told VBTV: “It’s been amazing….  It wasn’t an easy match for us, they gave us some pushback, but we worked through some difficult moments, which was great for the team. . .. It’s great to get this win”.

Bulgaria is currently ranked 20th in the world. Canada is ranked 12th and is already qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics after the team’s second-place performance in the Olympic Qualifier pool last year.

Canada’s men’s team is now 2-1 in VNL, and its next match is against Slovenia (6th).

Cuba entered into the Olympic qualification zone

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, May 23, 2024.- Cuba entered the Volleyball Nations League 2024 intending to qualify for the Paris Olympics and, after just two matches in Rio de Janeiro, they’re already inside the qualification zone for the event. That was possible thanks to a combination of a Cuban victory over Germany and a Serbian setback against Japan, on Thursday.

Following up on a four-set victory over Brazil on Tuesday, the Caribbean had another strong performance at the Maracanãzinho stadium, topping Germany 3-1 (26-24, 25-20, 18-25, 25-23) in the first match of the day.

The result gave the Cubans 7.18 points in the FIVB World Rankings, elevating their total to 256.85. That alone wasn’t enough for them to pass the Serbians, but that happened when the Europeans fell to Japan 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-22) later, dropping 5.38 points to go down to 252.85.

Now, Cuba are the fourth-best national team not yet qualified for Paris to appear in the World Rankings, behind Italy, who are fourth with 347.58, Slovenia, who are sixth with 314.95, and Argentina, who are seventh with 308.29.

Star outside hitters Marlon Yant and Miguel Ángel López rose again for the Cubans, combining to produce 39 points against the Germans. Yant, who celebrated his 23rd birthday with a victory on the court, had a team-high 21 points, with 17 kills, three blocks and one ace, while the team captain added 18, with 17 kills and one block.

“We came into this match with a positive attitude because we knew this was going to be a critical match for us,” middle blocker Robertlandy Simón commented. “It was a great win today, but now it’s time for us to focus on the next one. I wished Yant a happy birthday this morning, but we’re not having a party for him because our goal here is to qualify for the Olympics. Japan are a very difficult matchup for us and we’ll need to be very focused.”

Cuba will face Japan at 14:00 local time (17:00 GMT) in Rio on Friday.

Canada falls to Poland at VNL

May 23, 2024.- Canada’s men’s team showed up with a strong start, but couldn’t hold off the world-ranked number-one team of Poland at Volleyball Nations League 2024 in Antalya, Türkiye, today.

The final score was Canada 1, Poland 3 (25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 21-25).

Poland led in attack points 58-54, blocks 5-4, and services aces 8-5. Canada earned more points from Poland’s errors 26-22.

“We came out guns blazing, and then we were playing a little too safe,” Team Canada’s Stephen Maar told VBTV in a post-match interview. “We have everything we need to win and compete in these games, and at the end of the day we must take the opportunities that we have. … This team was able to make huge steps as a team last year (in qualifying for the Olympics), so we have the ability to learn what it is to play and win against these great teams.”

Polish outside hitter Bartosz Bednorz was match top scorer with 19 points; Eric Loeppky was Canada’s top scorer today with 15 points.

Canada, ranked 12th, is already qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics after the team’s second-place performance in the Olympic Qualifier pool last year.

Canada is now 1-1, and its next match is against Bulgaria on Friday.

Tough Start for Young U.S. Squad Against Defending VNL Champs

May 22, 2024.- The U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Poland 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 26-24) in its first match of Volleyball Nations League preliminary play on Wednesday in Antalya, Türkiye.

The U.S. Men (0-1) will look to rebound against France (1-0) on Friday at 7 a.m. PT.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Led by Aleksander Śliwka (13 points), the defending VNL champions showed their experience by not faltering, even when the U.S. Men jumped out to an early lead in the first set. Poland led the U.S. in kills (40-34), blocks (6-3) and aces (8-6). Poland scored on 22 U.S. errors and committed 18.

Opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez made his competitive debut with the U.S. Men’s National Team and led U.S. scorers with 11 points on nine kills and two aces. Outside hitter Jordan Ewert made his VNL debut and followed with 10 points on nine kills and one ace.

The U.S. Men nearly forced a fourth set after Garcia Fernandez scored from the back row tying the set at 21-21. Shortly after, libero Kyle Dagostino made an incredible play, chasing a ball behind the serve line into a sliding kick save to return the ball over to Poland’s side. However, Poland won the point bringing them to match point. Despite tying it up at 24-24, Poland eventually took the set and match.

“I think we started a little bit slower than we anticipated,” Dagostino told Volleyball World. “All of us feel like we have more to show and more to prove this week.”

Dagostino was credited with four digs and four successful receptions.

Middle blocker Matthew Knigge made his VNL debut as a starter and had six points on four kills. Middle blocker Patrick Gasman added five points on two kills, one block and two aces.

Outside hitter Cody Kessel had five points on four kills and one block. Opposite Jake Hanes had three kills.

Outside hitters Ethan Champlin and Brett Wildman, setter Quinn Isaacson and Middle blocker Michael Marshman also made their VNL debuts as substitutes.

Cuba silence the Maracanãzinho and upset Brazil

May 21, 2024.- Cuba took a major step towards the Paris Olympics with the victory in their VNL debut at a packed Maracanãzinho stadium for the return of legendary head coach ‘Bernardinho’ Rezende who didn’t intimidate Cuba as the Caribbean stunned Brazil in front of nearly 10,000 fans to start the Volleyball Nations League 2024 on the right foot.

Benefiting from an excellent collective performance, the Cubans secured a big 3-1 (25-23, 27-29, 25-21, 25-21) victory over the South Americans in Pool 2 and significantly improved their chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

The first national team sitting below the cut-off line, Cuba earned 12.7 points in the Ranking with the victory, going up from 11th to tenth place and getting to 249.66 to now rank just 3.56 points behind Serbia, the last team inside the qualification zone – they can move above the cut-off line on Wednesday if the Serbians lose to Iran in Rio. Despite the upset, Brazil continues in fifth place.

FIVB World Rankings 

A well-diversified offense was one of the keys to the Cuban victory as five players reached double digits in scoring in the match – outside hitters Marlon Yant (18) and Miguel Ángel López (15), opposite Michael Sánchez (14) and middle blockers Javier Concepcion (13) and Robertlandy Simón (12).

“To win here at the Maracanãzinho, with this atmosphere, it’s crazy,” Simón commented. “We knew we needed good results this week to help us qualify for the Olympics and today was a good start. We need to keep taking it one step at a time. We’ll give everything to make it to Paris.”

Playing aggressively, the Cubans also outscored the Brazilians in blocks (ten to four) and aces (seven to four), paving the way for their victory.

Cuban-born Brazilian outside hitter Yoandy Leal led all scorers with 19 points (17 kills, two aces), with fellow outside hitter Ricardo Lucarelli adding another 11, with nine kills, one block and one ace.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Cuba will be on the court again at the Maracanãzinho on Thursday, playing Germany at 14:00 local time (17:00 GMT).

Canada comes back for first Men VNL win of 2024

May 21, 2024.- After shaking off the nervous energy of the season opener, Canada’s men’s team earned its first win of Volleyball Nations League 2024 in Antalya, Türkiye, today.

The home team of Türkiye won the first set, but couldn’t hold back Canada, who ended up winning  3-1 (17-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-21).

“We had a very nervous start of the game,” admitted head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo, “but we knew it might have been like this, so we broke the ice and from the second set on, we got back to the game. Step by step we got better and we were good in key moments in the last three sets. Now all the focus is on getting better and improving our game.”

Canada led in attack points 51-44, and services aces 12-5, but was out-blocked by its opponent 5-12. Canada also made more errors: 29-24.

“I think we had some jitters and they played well, and we could have played better in the first set. After that we got in our rhythm and the connections were much better, and we served better after the first set… What’s great about our group is that everyone helps each other,” captain Nick Hoag said in the post-match interview to VBTV. “We’re growing as a team, and playing better set after set.”

Veteran Stephen Maar led scoring with 24 points including five ace serves, followed by relative newcomer Fynn McCarthy with 14 points (including three blocks and three aces).

Canada, ranked 12th is already qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics after the team’s second-place performance in the Olympic Qualifier pool last year. Türkiye is ranked 14th in the world.

Canada next plays world number-one Poland on May 23.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results