After losing to Canada at the Champions Cup in May on home soil, the U.S. men's national volleyball team was looking for a little revenge. The Americans found it on Thursday, beating the Canadians, 25-21, 25-20, 25-17, in a FIVB World Cup match at Hiroshima Green Arena.
The U.S. improved to 3-0 and is one of only three undefeated teams in the tournament along with Italy and Poland. Canada fell to 1-2. Teams at the World Cup play 11 matches in 16 days in a round-robin format. The top two teams qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Outside hitter Taylor Sander, who was named the Most Impressive Player of the match, said the U.S. hadn't forgotten its five-set loss to Canada in the final match of the Champions Cup in May in Detroit. Both teams qualified for World Cup, but the loss at home was a sore point for the United States.
"We were hungry for a win against a good team and yeah, it was a little bit of a revenge match," Sander said. "We just needed to play our game and I thought we did that throughout the whole match."
Sander finished with 12 points on 11 kills and one block. U.S. opposite Matt Anderson led all scorers with 13 points on 11 kills and two aces.
U.S. serving continued to be a strong point as the team finished with nine aces.
"USA just took us out of our game. They beat us with serve and pipe (back-row attacks)," Canada coach Fred Winters said. "I don't think we stopped them once. And they served too many aces."
The U.S. held Canada opposite Steven Marshall to 12 points. Marshall led Canada with 21 points in the Champions Cup match.
"I think we had a better game-plan against Marshall," U.S. captain David Lee said. "He kind of killed us last time."
The U.S. finished with six blocks, led by Max Holt who finished with four. Canada only had one block. The United States had a hitting efficiency of .418 while Canada's was .208.
The U.S. returns to the court on Saturday against Italy (3-0).
"Their team has changed," U.S. coach John Speraw said. "We don't have as much information as we have on other teams in the tournament. You can see that they are in a much better place than they were during World League. Italy is back to being one of the best teams in the world and I expect it to be a very difficult match."