Volleyball men win Champions Cup, qualify for World Cup
Feature photo: FIVB World League
Volleyball Canada’s men’s team is off to the 2015 World Cup, and they beat rival United States on the way there.
Canada, ranked number 14, beat USA (no. 5) in five sets 25-22, 19-25, 21-25, 25-21 17-15 on Saturday night in the final of the NORCECA Men’s Champions Cup. The tournament in Detroit was a qualifier of the World Cup with the top two nations going through to Japan in September. As finalists, both teams were World Cup bound, but now the Canadians will enjoy some bragging rights.
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NORCECA is an acronym for the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation, which is the international region in which Canada competes. The other nations vying for a World Cup spot were Cuba and Mexico.
Canada beat Cuba in straight sets (25-22, 25-18, 25-17) on Thursday, repeating that feat versus Mexico (25-12, 25-20, 25-13) the next day to reach the World Cup, which has just 12 entrants in the highly competitive global game.
Joining Canada and USA in September so far is the host Japan; 2014 World Champion Poland; Iran and Australia representing the Asian confederation; Russia and Italy out of Europe; Argentina and Venezuela from South America; and finally two African qualifiers will be decided in July.
The top two teams in the World Cup automatically qualify for the next Olympic Games in Rio. Brazil will not play in the World Cup, having already qualified as host nation for its home Games.
Canada is in good form at the moment, winning its first matches of the FIVB World League against Cuba before taking the Champions Cup this weekend.
Last year at the World Championship Canada was seventh, a best-ever result for the maple leaf nation in that men’s volleyball tournament.