Canadian men in Olympic volleyball qualifying position with 3-set sweep of China

Canada scored a three-set win over China on Wednesday to improve to 3-1 at the men’s volleyball Olympic qualification tournament.

Stephen Maar, of Aurora, Ont., paced the attack with 20 points on four aces and 16 kills in attack in Xi’an as Canada blanked the host Chinese 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 26-24).

Eric Leoppky, of Steinbach, Man., had 17 points and 77 per cent spiking success rate, while Jordan Schnitzer, of Surrey, B.C., chipped in with 10.

The victory moved Canada into second place in Pool C behind top-ranked Poland (4-0). The Canadians have nine points, one fewer than Poland and one more than Argentina (3-1) and Belgium (2-2).

Canada, ranked 14th in the world, opened the tournament on Saturday with a five-set victory over 11th-ranked Netherlands and defeated No. 6 Argentina in four sets the following day.

Only the top two countries from each of the tournament’s three pools advance to the Paris Olympics next summer.

WATCH | Canada blanks China, improves to 3-1 at Olympic qualifier:

Canada scores a big win over host China at Olympic volleyball qualifier

Featured VideoThe Canadian men moved into second place with a gritty, three set victory (25-19,25-22,26-24) at the Road to Paris tournament in Xi’an.

Canada is scheduled to face No. 25 Bulgaria (2-2) on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET. The match will be streamed live on, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.

The Canadians then battle No. 21 Belgium (Friday, 10 p.m.) and No. 22 Mexico (Sunday, 4 a.m.) in single-match round robin pool play.

Last month, Canada fell to the United States in the gold-medal match at the NORCECA Continental Championship in Charleston, W.Va.

Canada entered the final with a 3-0 record following a semifinal victory over Cuba and sweeps of the Dominicans and Mexico.

The Canadians have made five appearances in Olympic men’s volleyball, recording their best finish in Los Angeles 1984 with a bronze medal. Canada was defeated in the quarterfinals in Rio (2016) and Tokyo (2021).

The women finished third in their group nine days ago in Ningbo, China, missing a chance to clinch an Olympic spot and instead will likely have to improve upon its No. 11 world ranking next summer to gain entry to the 12-team tourney.

WATCH | Full coverage of Pool C match: Canada vs. China:

FIVB Road to Paris Men’s Volleyball Olympic Qualification Tournament: Canada vs. China

Featured VideoWatch Canada take on China at the FIVB Road to Paris Men’s Volleyball Olympic Qualification Tournament in Xi’an, China.

Canada roster

#20 Jordan Canham — Avonmore, Ont.
#13 Samuel Cooper — Hamilton
#97 Landon Currie — Coldstream, BC
#6 Danny Demyanenko — Toronto
#1 Pearson Eshenko — Banff, Alta.
#2 Luke Herr — Winnipeg
#4 Nicholas Hoag — Sherbrooke, Que.
#5 Brodie Hofer — Langley, B.C.
#80 Eric Loeppky — Steinbach, Man.
#18 Justin Lui — Pickering, Ont.
#7 Stephen Maar — Aurora, Ont.
#16 Jordan Schnitzer — Surrey, B.C.
#14 Arthur Szwarc — Toronto
#12 Lucas Van Berkel — Edmonton
#8 Brett Walsh — Calgary

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