Rio 2016: Men's volleyballPhoto: FIVB
Photo: FIVB

Canada picks up crucial three-point win over Mexico in Olympic volleyball

Canada’s men’s volleyball team picked up a crucial 3-0 (25-20, 25-13, 25-22) victory over Mexico on Saturday at Rio 2016.

The straight sets victory gave Canada a full three points, keeping the team’s hopes of reaching the quarterfinals alive.

The top four teams in each group move on to the next round. Italy currently leads Pool A with nine points while Brazil is second with six. Both teams have played three games heading into Saturday night’s head-to-head contest.

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Rio 2016: Nicholas Hoag, men's volleyball

Canada’s Nicholas Hoag in action against Mexico in the preliminary round of Rio 2016 on August 13, 2016. (Photo: FIVB)

France, Canada and the United States each have six points in four matches played. Mexico, the lowest ranked team in the pool, sits last with no wins.

Canada’s final game of the preliminary round is on Monday against Italy. The Italians are ranked fourth in the world by FIVB, but the Canadians, ranked 12th, have proven they can compete with the world’s best at the Olympic Games.

Canada opened the tournament with a big 3-0 upset victory over the United States, who are ranked 5th. The team carried that momentum into their second match, taking top-ranked Brazil to four sets before falling. Canada then lost in straight sets to 11th-ranked France, which made Saturday’s contest against Mexico huge in terms of points.

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Rio 2016: Gordon Perrin, men's volleyball

Canada’s Gordon Perrin in action against Mexico in the preliminary round of Rio 2016 on August 13, 2016. (Photo: FIVB)

Canada got off to a great start on Saturday, winning the first six points of the opening set. But Mexico didn’t go away, slowly chipping away at the Canadian lead until it was a three-point difference at 18-15. A timeout seemed to settle down the Canadians as they went on to win the set 25-20.

The second set stayed close in the early goings. After going up 16-9 on a Graham Vigrass spike, Canada cruised through the remainder of the set, winning 25-13.

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Mexico jumped out to a 7-3 in the third, which led to Canada taking a timeout. The Canadians slowly started to come back though, and on a Gord Perrin spike, took a 13-12 lead. The lead swung back-and-forth from there until it was 21-21. Canada then won three straight points en route to a 25-22 third set victory.

Vigrass led Canada with 15 points in the win while Perrin and Gavin Schmitt each had 11.

This is the first time Canada has competed in Olympic men’s volleyball since Barcelona 1992. The top finish for a Canadian men’s squad at an Olympic Games was fourth at Los Angeles 1984.