Third victory for the Slovenian national volleyball team. They will play against Poland on Sunday

In the first set, the Canadians did better, showing decisive offensive play, putting a lot of pressure on their opponents with their serve and playing excellent defense. They quickly took a clear lead (6:1) and kept the Slovenes at bay for a long time (17:11, 21:16).

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Coach Gheorghe Cretu’s players only started chasing their opponents at the end of the match. They managed to come back to two points (21:19), but then the Canadian leader Stephen Maar ended an important action with an effective attack, and Toncek Stern attacked with the set ball and the North American team won 25:22.

In the second game there was a point-to-point fight until the score was 10:10. Then, when Stern entered the field, the Slovenians took a four-point lead (14:10). In the second part of the set, the European volleyball players showed more quality of play than the Canadians, made fewer errors than them and thus won very clearly. After Tine Urnaut’s service ace, the score was 23:16, and the match ended with Alena Pajenka’s effective attack on the ball and the Slovenian team won 25:18.

The third match was similar to the second – the 9:9 draw quickly turned into 16:11 for coach Cret’s volleyball players. With five points remaining, the Slovenes controlled the situation on the pitch. Eventually, they increased their advantage by winning again 25:18.

The key element of the fourth set was the start of the set – after a good start (6:4), the Slovenian team had big problems receiving the services of Lucas Van Berkel and carrying out effective offensive action. Meanwhile, the Canadians scored seven straight points and took an 11-6 lead. Later, they continued to play well and did not allow their opponents to narrow the gap by five points. In the end, they won 25:21 – the tiebreak point was scored by Eric Loeppky with an attack from the middle of the second line.

The start of the tie-break saw an even contest between the two teams. Before the change of sides, the Slovenes, better placed on the ground, had taken a two-point lead. Gregor Ropret sent an ace and Klemen Cebulj added an effective attack (8:6). Later in the set, coach Gheorghe Cretu’s team maintained the advantage. When Cebulj broke the opposing block, they were leading 13:9, and after a while the same player won the match ball. The Canadians still defended, but the last word belonged to the hero of this tie-break. Cebulj attacked the blockout and ended the match (15:10).

Volleyball Nations League, Antalya
Slovenia – Canada 3:2 (10:25 p.m., 10:18 p.m., 10:18 p.m., 9:25 p.m., 3:10 p.m.)

Slovenia: Gregor Ropret, Toncek Stern, Tine Urnaut, Klemen Cebulj, Alen Pajenk, Jan Kozamernik, Jani Kovacić (libero) and Nik Mujanović, Rok Bracko.

Canada: Luke Herr, Xander Wassenaar Ketrzynski, Stephen Maar, Eric Loeppky, Danny Demyanenko, Lucas Van Berkel, Justin Lui (libero) and Arthur Szwarc, Brett Walsh, Fynnian McCarthy, Nicholas Hoag, Ryley Barnes.

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Alec Dittman

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