October 03, 2021: Canada completed its U21 FIVB World Championship campaign with a 1-3 (17-25, 21-25, 27-25, 15-25) loss to Iran today in Sofia, Bulgaria. Iran wins this stage and finishes ninth, while Canada ends in 10th overall.
Today opposite Chris Byam of Bow Island, Alberta, topped scoring for Canada with 18 points, followed by Samuel Cooper of Hamilton, Ontario, with 17. The teams were mostly evenly matched, but Canada lost more points to errors (39-19) than Iran.
“It was a battle. Everybody came here to win. Our team had its ups and downs, but we found ways to battle through everything,” said Byam, in the post-match interview. “We are very proud.”
Head coach Ryan Marsden agreed that the team was honoured to represent the Maple Leaf: “This has been an absolutely amazing experience for our U21 group to attend the World Championships. We were initially in a pretty tough pool with both Russia and Brazil in it. We lost to Brazil 0-3 and Russia 1-3, but both were such high-level competition that brought some valuable experience for our guys who almost all of them had not competed internationally yet in their young careers. We were able to beat Bahrain, Cuba and Thailand on our way to the ninth-place final game. We faced a very tough and determined Iran team today. They served and blocked tough and had two incredible middles that we just didn’t have an answer for…. I am super proud of the way that these guys represented Canada both on and off the court.”
Later today, Italy won the title of 2021 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Champions after defeating Russia 3-0 in the final. Poland took the bronze medal, beating Argentina 3-0.
The matches for first to eighth place were held in Italy, and the matches for ninth to 16th were played in Bulgaria.
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