Canada Fatigue Costs Victory in Nations League Volleyball Match

Despite the enthusiastic support from the Ottawa crowd, fatigue proved to be the deciding factor for the Canadian volleyball team in their Nations League match against Serbia on Sunday. Nicholas Hoag and his teammates concluded the second week of the annual tournament with a 3-1 defeat (21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-23) at TD Place Arena in Ottawa.

The Canadian players, who secured their Olympic qualification for Paris last year, faced high expectations in the competition. Hoag shared, “We are happy to be qualified, we were able to put that behind us. Now, we need to focus on what is happening on the court right now and improve, do something good in the Nations League! We can also see it as a preparation for the Olympics, against very strong teams, not necessarily qualified and therefore have everything to lose by facing us.”

No team was able to establish a significant lead early in Sunday’s match. Canada took the lead for the first time at 11-10 and held on until the end, winning the initial set 25-21.

However, the Serbian team quickly responded, taking a five-point lead with Miran Kujundzic’s powerful serves making a difference. The ball hitting the net twice before crossing over, resulting in two aces and winning the set 25-18, much to the disappointment of the home fans.

The local favorites made some anticipation errors afterward, conceding valuable points to their opponents and, ultimately, the third set. Hoag highlighted that the errors were due to accumulated fatigue over the past few days, especially after playing their fourth match of the week.

Despite a momentary six-point lead, Canada was unable to secure a win in the fourth set, with concentration errors allowing Serbia to come back and win 25-23. Hoag noted that these were not typical mistakes made by the team.

The Canadian team had defeated the Americans in four sets the day before, in front of over 7000 spectators. They won the first set 25-16 before the Americans, also qualified for Paris, equalized. The Canadian team managed to secure the next two sets with scores of 26-24 and 28-26, much to the delight of the crowd.

Looking ahead, the Canadian team, currently ranked seventh with a record of four wins and four losses, will play in the Philippines in two weeks for the third and final week of the preliminary phase. They will face Japan, Germany, Brazil, and the Netherlands in hopes of securing a spot in the elimination rounds of the Nations League.