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Canada deny Egypt in five-set thriller

 
Hiroshima, Japan, September 9, 2015 – Canada survived a scare from Egypt to seal a 3-2 (25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 24-26, 15-12) victory in a thrilling encounter on day two of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup Japan 2015 on Wednesday.

It was the country’s first win at the tournament as Egypt were denied in five sets for the second time in as many days after losing to hosts Japan on Tuesday.

Ahmed Abdelhay was the top scorer despite the loss, picking up a respectable 36 points. Most impressive player Gavin Schmitt led Canada with 21.

Abd Abou and Badawy Mohamed led the attack for Egypt from the start, with some powerful hitting to edge ahead. A foot fault saw Canada draw even before a John Perrin block gave them the lead. The Canadians found more success with their block, with a triple stuff sending them three points ahead. That gap remained, with Egypt’s powerful attacks failing to reduce the gap as they surrendered the opener.

The opening set loss fired Egypt up as Ahmed Abdelhay fired down several powerful serves, earning an ace in the process as they went 8-5 up. Canada rallied though and drew level off the back of a Schmitt spike, a Hoag ace and a wayward Egyptian spike. Neither side could make a breakthrough, with powerful hits also allowing errors to creep into the match. With all the strong attacks going on, it took a delicate float serve from Schneider to see Canada move three ahead for the first time in the set. A Gavin Schmitt spike eventually brought up set point and he duly delivered again on the same side of the court to go two up.

It was much of the same in the third as Egypt tried to salvage the match. The African champions’ error rate began to creep up, but they stayed close, nullifying it with some big attacks. An Abdelhay block put Egypt two ahead for the first time in the match as Canada struggled to contain the 31-year old’s powerful serve. A late Canadian rally gave Egypt a fright, but they eventually earned a match point before a vicious Hassan spike pulled one back for the world No.15.

Neither team was giving anything in the fourth set as they both hunted for their first win in Japan. But it was Canada’s serve which eventually saw them gain an 8-7 lead, Nick Hoag overpowering the reception. A two point advantage for Canada was gifted back to Egypt following two errors, and despite the latter continuing to lead in mistakes, their serve and attack game kept them in it. Egypt continued to pile on the pressure, moving to within three points of a fifth set. The intensity increased as Canada caught up, and a crucial net touch challenge success kept them in touch at 21-22. Canada dug deep to draw level at 24-all. A Gavin Schmitt serving error gave Egypt one last chance, and an Abdalla duly fired an ace to take it to a fifth.

With every win vital in the World Cup, both sides were keen to reignite their campaigns in the decider. But it took until 12-10 for one of the teams to edge more than a point ahead, with Canada lining themselves up for success. Some desperate digging brought up match point for the world No.14. Egypt sided out but Schmitt hammered home a spike to bring an end to a marathon match.

FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup

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