Team Canada picked up where they left off after qualifying for the Olympics with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-21) win over China to open the 2016 World League in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.
The Maple Volleys played with confidence and increasingly gained control throughout the match. Even without stars Gavin Schmitt, Gord Perrin, and Nick Hoag, they dominated a team that only a few weeks ago were a set away from ruining Canada's Olympic dream.
Without Perrin and Schmitt producing over 50% of the offence, Canada played their own version of small ball, with Steve Marshall playing on the left and Rudy Verhoeff making his debut on the right, allowing TJ Sanders to speed up the offence on the outside and open things up in the middle and much more diversified offence then we saw in Japan.
Graham Vigrass was dominant with 11 kills and 15 points while Marshall was deadly, going 11-for-15; the match also saw the return of Captain Fred Winters, who was in form added 11 points. Unfortunately digs don't matter in the Czech Republic so we have no idea the exact number, but team defence was a real thing today, keeping multiple plays alive throughout the match.
With three straight games this weekend, Canada will have to get ready right away for their next match of Pool C2 against Egypt at 9:00 a.m. ET/ 6:00 a.m. PT. Live streams can be found on our FIVB World League homepage.