Canada's men's volleyball team through to final 6 in World League Group 1 debut

ANTWERP, Belgium — Canada's men's volleyball team has advanced to the Final Six in just its first year in the FIVB World League's top group.

"I am very proud of how our team fought for every point for the past three weekends," said Canada's head coach Stephane Antiga. "The players should be very happy with what they accomplished so far in Group 1. We are looking forward to going to Brazil."

Canada topped Italy 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-14, 25-22) on Sunday to wrap up its final weekend of pool play.

Stephen Maar of Aurora, Ont., had 20 points to top Canada, while 18-year-old Sharone Vernon-Evans of Toronto had 16 points.

The Canadians finished with five wins and four losses, and then had to wait for the United States versus Poland game later Sunday to learn their fate. The Americans' win over Poland guaranteed them a spot in the Final Six, July 4-8 in Brazil. The six teams will be split into two pools of three, with each playing two matches. The top two teams in each pool advance to the semifinals and finals.

France was the top performer in pool play with eight wins and only one loss.

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