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The men used a 3-0 win over Puerto Rico on Sunday to clinch a spot at this summer’s Olympic during the NORCECA men’s Olympic 2020 qualification tournament played at the Pacific Coliseum.
Blair Bann said “This is astonishing. One of eight players making a return journey to the Games. It’s a well feeling right now. Today we knew it was going to be all in. If we gave our best effort, we would be fruitful.”
Canada, ranked seventh in the world, beaten 24th-ranked Puerto Rico 25-21, 25-15, 25-15. The Canadians secured the Olympic 2020 mooring by being the only undefeated team at the four-nation tournament. When the final point was scored players flooded the court, packaging each other in embraces. Coach Glenn Hoag knelt on one knee and gave a fist pump.
Hoag said “It gives you extra energy as a coach to get them to live that dream. Who also coached the team four years ago in Rio. The guys have been so good at regarding the game plan. They were so attentive. They have been like this all weekend.”
A thrilling 3-2 win over Cuba Saturday night put Canada in the driver’s seat heading into the final day of the three-day rivalry. The men’s Olympic 2020 dream looked in peril after they dropped the first two sets against 18th-placed Cuba by identical 25-22 scores. They averted disaster by winning the next three sets 25-12, 25-21 and 15-9.
Bann said “We don’t do anything too easy an Edmonton native who played volleyball at the University of British Columbia. Yesterday was an amazing match. To come out here and play this game. We are looking for more of that resiliency going into the summer.”