VNL: Canada subdues China in 4 sets

Stephen Maar helped Canada avoid the drop. Nonie Reyes/PNVF
By John Rhey Piamonte

PASAY—World no. 17 Canada ended its Manila stint on a high note after routing China,23-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-18, to kick off the last day of the 2023 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Pasay leg on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

After dropping the first set, Canada bounced back and went on to dominate the rest of the match to cap its VNL campaign with a 3-9 record. 

Stephen Timothy Maar paced Canada as he hammered 20 points, nailing eight of those in the decisive set that sent China packing. 

"It is a huge win for us. For our team to be able to put everything on the line and finish our season here with a win. I am very happy with how we handle the pressure," Maar said. 

Meanwhile, Jingyin Zhang finished his stellar tournament outing with a superb 25 points, 24 coming from kills, and one ace for China. 

The 29 recorded game errors perfectly summarized the Coach Wu Sheng-mentored team's VNL stretch, draining every bit of momentum that comes in their way. 

"China is known for its physical spikers. Obviously, Zhang is one good example of that but I think there are also a lot of unforced errors as well, net touches and errors like that is where we capitalize," Maar added on the post-game conference. 

The 23-year-old Zhang once again proved why he is one of the rising spikers in the league after leading the comeback surge of China in the first set. 

In the second, Canada made sure that there will be no reversal this time as Danny Demyanenko sealed the salvo with back-to-back service aces. 

Maar together with Ryan Joseph Sclater and Nicholas Hoag then put on the finishing touches, cruising past China in the next two sets. 

Sclater also had 20 points for Canada's Outside hitter with Hoag adding 12 markers on his own.

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