Canada overwhelms U.S. men's volleyball in stunning upset
Team USA's bid for gold at Rio hit a major speed bump in its first match of the men's volleyball preliminaries Sunday afternoon.
Canada stormed out of the gate and wound up sweeping the U.S. team in three sets.
Both teams came out with some sloppy serving in the first set, but Canada shored up the problem area first and took advantage of several U.S. unforced errors. American star Matt Anderson tried to get his team back into it with a pair of monster spikes, but it wasn't enough as Canada pulled out a 25-23 victory.
Canada dwarfed the U.S. at the net in the second set, claiming a 25-17 victory.
A thrilling third set ultimately ended with a late U.S. rally falling short and another 25-23 victory for Canada.
"It was an unfortunate way to start the tournament," USA captain David Lee said. "We didn't find a level of consistency that we could sustain throughout the match."
Entering the Rio Olympics, the American team was ranked No. 5 in the world while Canada sat at 12th.
Anderson led all players with 15 points while Aaron Russell tallied 12 points. On an American team packed with fresh-faced players, Olympic veterans David Lee (five points, two blocks) and Reid Priddy (one point) were quiet in the Rio opener.
Canada's Gavin Schmitt and Nick Hoag gave Team USA fits all afternoon, combining for 27 points on 23 spikes.
Canada recorded 28 of its points on U.S. errors.
"We knew we were the underdog in this pool and in this match," Canadian captain Frederic Winters said. "It's the Olympic games and our team was highly motivated and it showed on the court today."
The American squad next plays Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. against Italy. Can they patch things up and rebound quickly?
"I hope so and I believe so," Lee said. "These guys have proven themselves on the biggest stages. That's very uncharacteristic for some of the young players to make some of the errors they did at some of the moments they did.
"I expect them to be extremely motivated in the matches to come."
Quotes from the Associated Press.