October 6, 2023.- United States earned a big win over Slovenia to remain undefeated, Canada swept Bulgaria and Cuba fell in a critical match to Brazil on Friday at the FIVB Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifiers.
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Unites States remained the only undefeated team in Pool B and are getting closer and closer to snatching one of the two Olympic tickets from Tokyo to Paris.
With star opposite Matthew Anderson leading the way, The U.S. handed Slovenia their first loss of the tournament, as the two teams got into a head-to-head battle for the top of the current pool standings on Friday.
The Americans registered a 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 25-19) victory over Slovenia to improve to a 5-0 win-loss record and full 15 points. The U.S. led Slovenia in kills (53-44) and blocks (10-3). The two teams were even on aces at three each. The U.S. scored 30 points off opponent errors while giving up 28.
Matt Anderson produced two aces and 14 spike kills at a 56% success rate in attack to top the scorers’ chart of the match. Outside Torey Defalco added another 13 points, including a kill block, while the two middle blockers, David Smith and Jeffrey Jendryk, finished with 10 points each towards the victory.
On Saturday, the U.S. Men (5-0) will play Serbia (3-2)
Canada made quick work of Bulgaria3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-18) early Friday in Pool C in Xi’an, China.
Canada led in attacking (39-26), blocking (10-5) and service points (6-5), but errors were equal at 20 apiece.
Stephen Maar scored 16 points for Canada (on 12 attacks, 3 blocks and an ace). Teammate Eric Loeppky was next with 13 points (including a block and 2 aces) and Arthur Szwarc added 11 points.
The Canadian team, sitting at 4-1 and in the running for the top-two qualifying positions, plays Belgium in less than 24 hours. The final match for Canada is against Mexico on Sunday.
Cuba fell to Brazil 1-3 (25-23, 18-25, 20-25, 20-25) in Pool A. Now Cuba is 3-2 and will need to beat Italy on Saturday and Iran on Sunday, and count on favorable results in other encounters involving Brazil, Germany and Italy to advance.
Outside hitter Marlon Yant led the way for Cuba with 19 points (16 kills, two aces, one block), followed by opposite Jesus Herrera, with 13.
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